If there is any place on our planet that can resemble paradise, we can undoubtedly say that it is the Manu National Park, located in the Amazonian area of the Madre de Dios and Cusco regions.
Manu National Park
Manu National Park is located between the Madre de Dios and Cusco regions, a meeting point of the Tropical Andes and the Amazon basin in southwestern Peru. It is one of the most important natural reserves in the Amazon region with more than 1,000,000 ha. of extension and a relevant biological diversity that develops between 150 and 4,100 meters above sea level8. Here coexist thousands of varieties of plants, species of birds, mammals, amphibians, insects and rare species; for this reason Manú has become a place of research and study for scientists from all over the world.
The world’s greatest biodiversity:
Recognized as the most biologically diverse protected area in the world by UNESCO, Manu National Park is home to more than a thousand species of birds and nearly two hundred mammal species. Much of this abundant fauna is due to its privileged location: it covers practically all altitudinal levels, from the Cusco puna to the Amazon plain.
A bird paradise:
According to the United Nations Protected Areas Program, the more than 1,000 bird species recorded in Manu represent 25% of the total number of birds living in South America and about 10% of all the species in the world. For this reason, the park is one of the most recommended places for birdwatching enthusiasts.
Parrots and macaws are the most prized and endangered species. The red macaw, of large size, is one of the most beautiful birds that can be found in this place: it has a large head of orange feathers combined with the blue and green of its wings and tail. Among the parrots, the blue-headed parrot stands out, only thirty centimeters long.
Wide variety of flora:
More than 20,000 species of vascular plants – which transport nutrients – can be observed in Manu. In addition, the area is home to different vegetation formations such as tropical forests, cloud forests, dwarf forests and Andean grasslands.
A quiet habitat for animals:
When touring some areas suitable for tourists, you can discover a large number of reptiles, such as six-meter long caimans, or terrestrial and marine mammals, to fish and amphibians.
Among the mammals that live in Manu, the marmoset monkey, considered the smallest in the world, stands out. These primates are usually very friendly with visitors and even get into mischief.
Another of the most beloved and sought after species by tourists is the giant otter or river otter. This fun and playful mammal is unfortunately in danger of extinction. In the past, the otter was found in practically all the rivers of the Amazon basin. Now, most of those left alive are found within the Manu.
Manu not only stands out for its natural charm, but also for its valuable archaeological remains. In it, relics and vestiges have been found, some still under study, that demonstrate the human presence in this territory since ancient times. The best known are the petroglyphs of Patiacolla, considered the largest in Peru. Another important archaeological site in this area are the ruins of Mameria.
Home of the natives:
Manu is home to several ethnic groups that live in its interior and that for the most part remain voluntarily isolated. The best known are the Machiguenga, Piro, Yora and Yaminahua. Their relationship with modernity is very limited; some of them have never had any contact with the outside world.
The economic activity of these communities is limited to hunting, fishing, gathering and incipient agriculture. In this way, they maintain their ancestral traditions and wildlife lifestyle because they are the only people authorized to exploit the park’s natural resources. Currently, there are about 50,000 inhabitants distributed in approximately thirty communities.
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