Tambopata National Reserve covers an area of 1061 square miles, protecting a corner of the Amazon basin that stretches from the foothills of the Andes to the Bolivian border, where Peru’s neighbors have created the Madidi National Park.
As one of the most biologically diverse places on the planet, Tambopata National Reserve is classified by biologists as a biodiversity hotspot. In recognition of its unique status as home to a broad range of typical lowland Amazon rainforest fauna and flora, the Peruvian government has officially acknowledged this part of Peru’s subtropical and tropical forests as the nation’s “biodiversity capital”.
The ecosystems of Tambopata are composed of more than 10,000 plant species. The many research projects conducted within the National Reserve have led scientists to estimate that it is home to some 160 species of mammals and around 650 species of birds. Of the more than 3000 butterfly species known to exist in Peru, Tambopata is home to at least 1200 species. Meanwhile, its extensive wetland and river systems shelter more than 150 species of amphibians and reptiles and some 100 different varieties of fish.
Species of major fauna that have been driven to near extinction in other parts of South America are protected within the borders of the National Reserve and flourish. Visitors to Tambopata National Reserve may be lucky enough to spot tapirs, white-lipped peccaries, caimans, anacondas, giant river otters, giant anteaters, giant armadillos, yellow-spotted side-necked turtles, the small-eared dog, marsh deer, and even the Amazon’s greatest predator: the solitary jaguar. In addition, the forests of Tambopata are home to eight species of monkeys, several of which are so abundant it is almost impossible not to see or hear them as they roam the forest canopy.
Tambopata’s position between the foothills of the Andes and the Amazon lowlands, coupled with its extensive areas of forest wetland ecosystems, makes it particularly important as a habitat for a broad range of fauna. The Reserve protects areas of both humid tropical and subtropical rainforest. It also shelters two areas of savannah grasslands and the world’s largest known macaw clay lick, where huge numbers of macaws and parrots, along with other bird and mammal species, tend to gather daily to feed from the mineral deposits essential to their diet.
As people everywhere remember World Environment Day, at Tambopata National Reserve we continue to work 24/7 to protect this corner of the Amazon basin for future generations, and to invite travelers from all over the world to experience this biodiversity hotspot and take our conservation message back to their home countries.