AMAZON RAINFOREST PERU TOURS
» NATIONAL PARKS FOR ECOTOURISM
Located in the rainforests of the Cusco and Madre de Dios departments, the Manu National Park is Peru’s greatest natural treasure and a trove for the number of species it shelters and the diversity of the ecosystems it features. Established in 1973 over a land surface of 1’532,806 hectares, it was included in UNESCO’s list of Mankind’s Natural Heritage in 1987. It comprises the whole of the Manu River basin as well as an extraordinary cross-section of altitudes ranging from 4,300 m.a.s.l in the Andean High Plateau to 200 m.a.s.l in the Amazon floodplain.It is home to several ethnic groups including the Amahuaca, Huachipaire, Machiguenga, Piro, Yora and Yaminagua, as well as others who still have not made contact with the modern world.The park is the natural environment for over 20,000 vascular plants, 1,200 species of butterflies, 1,000 types of birds, 200 kinds of mammals and an unknown number of reptiles, amphibians and insects.
Located in the department of Ancash, the Huascaran National Park is wedged in the White Cordillera, the world’s highest tropical mountain chain. It was created in 1975 over a surface of 340,000 hectares and included in UNESCO’s list of Mankind’s Natural Heritage in 1985. The park protects one of the world’s most surprising high-mountain ecosystems, featuring 663 glaciers, 269 lakes and 41 rivers, as well as dozens of mountains, 26 of which tower above 6,000 meters.
The Park is home to plentiful and diverse plant and animal wildlife including some 800-plant species and several dozen types of animals.Additionally, the Park includes 33 pre-Inca archaeological sites like Wilcahuain and is home to dozens of Quechua-speaking peasant communities that still practice their traditional farming and livestock herding techniques.
» NATIONAL RESERVES FOR ECOTOURISM
Tambopata National Reserve
The declaration and the design of the reserve includes an underlying philosophy of sustainable development and conservation of forest resources.
The TNR protects habitats ranging from the Andean highlands around the rivers’ headwaters through some of the last remaining intact cloud forests to the lowland rainforests of the Amazon basin. Over 1,300 bird species (including 32 parrot species – 10% of the world’s total), 200 mammal species, 90 frog species, 1,200 butterfly species and 10,000 species of higher plants are protected within this reserve. The world’s largest known mineral clay lick, where hundreds of parrots and macaws of up to 15 species congregate daily to ingest the detoxifying clay, is also within the reserve, less than 500 meters from Tambopata Research Center.
Adjacent the northwestern corner of the reserve is the Ese’eja Native Community, adding its 10,000 hectares of communally owned and managed tropical rain forests to the Reserved Zone.
Spreading over 2,080,000 hectares, the crown jewel of Peru’s northern Amazon region natural reserves, Pacaya-Samiria is also the nation’s largest. It was created in 1982 to conserve the region’s exuberant and diverse animal wildlife, including its huge variety of fish species that are the main source of protein for the local population.
This protected area contains 85 lakes that are home to 250 species of fish as well as both pink and gray fresh-water dolphins. In the jungle and flooded forest of the reserve 132 mammal species (13 of which are primates), 449 bird species and 150 reptile and amphibian species have been documented. There are three distinct eco-systems in the Pacaya-Samiria Reserve and the largest variety of flora in Peru, including 22 species of orchids.
The area originally set aside in 1940 became a National Reserve in 1972. A number of ranger stations were set up to enforce Reserve laws and monitor wildlife. The objectives of the Reserve are to foster research and protection for all species of wildlife, foster socioeconomic help for the local people and utilization of resources and tourism. Nature Conservancy of Peru plays a major role in meeting these goals. One of their more successful programs is the protection of taricaya and charapa turtle eggs and conservation of these endangered species. To date they have released 450,000 turtle hatchlings.
Tourism plays an important role as it brings in funds through an entrance fee that helps support the various programs and promotes awareness of the wildlife and plant resources within the reserve and the need for its continued protection.