Conservation and Zoological Sites | Peru Unbound

Conservation and Zoological Sites

MANÚ NATIONAL PARK

MANÚ NATIONAL PARK 

Peru’s treasured Manú National Park is the world’s top biodiversity hotspot for reptiles and amphibians.

The park, which encompasses lowland Amazonian rain forest, high-altitude cloud forest and Andean grassland east of Cusco, is well known for its huge variety of bird life, which attracts ecotourists from around the globe.

Since its creation 41 years ago, Manú National Park has become recognized as globally irreplaceable. It was designated a UNESCO Biosphere Preserve in 1977 and a World Heritage Site in 1987. Herpetologists – experts in reptiles and amphibians – first surveyed the region in the 1970s, primarily along the road that connects the city of Cusco to villages in the cloud forests of the Kosñipata Valley. Starting in the ’80s, research was broadened to include remote lowland rainforest locations, such as Cocha Cashu Biological Station, inside the park. Subsequent expeditions have continued to reveal new species of amphibians and reptiles, especially in the cloud forest and high-Andean grasslands, which are rich in endemic species.

Before becoming an area protected by the Peruvian government, the Manú National Park was conserved thanks to its inaccessibility. The park remains fairly inaccessible by road to this day. In 1977, UNESCO recognised it as a Biosphere Reserve and in 1987, it was pronounced a World Heritage Site. It is the largest National Park in Peru, covering an area of 15,328 km². The Biosphere Reserve includes an additional 2,570 km², and a further 914 km² are included in a "Cultural Zone" (which also is afforded a level of protection), bringing the total area up to 18,811 km².

The Manú National Park is divided into three zones: the "core zone" which is only accessible for scientists and researchers; the "reserved zone" which is only accessible for a limited number of tour operators and their tours; and the "cultural zone" which is openly accessible and where local people live in small villages. When choosing a trip to Manu National Park, keep in mind that chances to see exotic wildlife are by far higher in the reserved zone than in the cultural zone.

There is a lot of tropical wildlife to be seen in the National Park, including jaguars, giant otters, several species of monkeys (red howler, black spider, capuchin, squirrel), caimans, turtles. Birds are abundant, including macaws, herons, cormorants, hawks, storks and many more.

Enjoy your own Peruvian adventure, exploring Manú National Park and more! Contact us at info@unbound.travel or (800) 214-0579.

PACAYA SAMIRIA NATIONAL RESERVE 

PACAYA SAMIRIA NATIONAL RESERVE 

In 1982, the Peruvian Government established the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve with the purpose of preserving the wilderness resources and the beautiful landscapes of the area. The Reserve has an area of 8,042 square miles, which represents 1.5% of the total surface of Peru.

The name of Pacaya Samiria comes from the names of two rivers that run through it: Pacaya and Samiria. The Reserve has a great diversity of wildlife as well as aquatic life: 449 bird species, 102 mammals, 69 reptiles, 58 amphibians, 256 fish and 1,204 plants. Threatened or endangered species that can be found in the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve are the jaguar or otorongo, the black alligator, the giant river otter, the manatee, four different species of primates and two different species of turtles.

An essential element that is characteristic of this protected area, is the cycle of crescent and reflux of the rivers. Between the months of October and April is the rainy season and the water of the rivers and creeks increases, flooding a large area of the rainforest. This time is known as crescent. Reflux takes place between May and September, when rain decreases greatly and the level of the water falls progressively, reaching its minimum in August. This seasonal change and the predominantly flat terrain have configured a landscape full of small rivers, creeks and lagoons.

In Pacaya Samiria, the great extension of rainforest remains flooded most of the year, with local species like the "aguaje", a palm tree whose fruits are eaten by many animals as well as by settlers of local communities. There are other numerous varieties of flora that make the landscape of the Reserve unique in this part of the Amazon. We can also find a great diversity of medicine plants and trees that can reach a height of 150 feet, like the "lupuna". In certain areas, you can still find rubber trees which preserve the marks of the famous rubber exploitation over 80 years ago.