The Tambopata National Reserve, also known as the Tambopata – Candamo National Reserve Zone, is a nature reserve in the Amazon rainforest. It is located in the Madre de Dios region in south-eastern Peru, close to the Bolivian border and within relatively easy reach of Cusco and Machu Picchu. The closest town is Puerto Maldonado.
The reserve covers an area of 274,690 hectares (1061 square miles) stretching from the Andes Mountains to Bolivia, and borders the Bahuaja Sonene National Park. It is also close to the Manú National Park, and Madidi National Park in Bolivia.
A biodiversity hotspot
Tambopata National Reserve is one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world and is recognized as the Biodiversity Capital of the country by the Peruvian government.
According to Fauna Forever it is the habitat of 160 species of mammals, 650 bird species. 1,200 different butterfly species, more than 150 species of amphibians and reptiles, approximately 100 fish species, as well as over 10,000 species of plants.
Wildlife found here include healthy populations of endangered species such as the Giant River Otter, Jaguar, Tapir, White-Lipped Peccary, four species of Caiman, as well as the Giant Anteater, Giant Armadillo, Jaguarundi, Harpy Eagle, the Yellow-Spotted Side-Neck Turtle and even the Small-Eared Dog, Pampas Deer and Maned Wolf.
The Reserve also provides habitats for eight different species of monkeys, including ones that are easy to see and hear such as the Red Howler Monkey.
The particularly high levels of biodiversity are thought to be due to various geographical factors that make Tambopata unique:
– It is located in a transitional area between humid tropical and subtropical rainforest.
– Altitudes range goes from 200m to 2,000 m (the Tambopata River reaches the Andes).
– Rapid changes in temperature caused by annual cold fronts known as “friajes” coming in from the South.
– There are considerable variations in annual rainfall.
– The Reserve contains two islands of savannah (grasslands) called the “Pampas del Heath,” which are among the last well-conserved examples of this unique ecosystem in the Amazon.
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