The Tambopata National Reserve, also known as Tambopata – Zona Reservada de Candamo, is a natural reserve in the Amazon jungle. It is located in the region of Madre de Dios, in southeastern Peru, near the border with Bolivia and with relatively easy access from Cusco and Machu Picchu. The closest city is Puerto Maldonado.
The reserve covers an area of 274,690 hectares (1061 square miles) that stretches from the Andes mountains to Bolivia and borders the Bahuaja Sonene National Park. It is also close to the Manú National Park and the Madidi National Park in Bolivia.
The reserve is one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world and the Peruvian government has officially recognized it as the country’s Biodiversity Capital.
According to current estimates by conservationists, the area is home to 160 species of mammals and at least 650 species of birds. Other studies also report 1,250 species of butterflies, more than 155 species of amphibians and reptiles and about 110 species of fish, as well as more than 10,000 species of plants.
These include healthy populations of endangered species, such as the giant river otter, the jaguar, the tapir, white-lipped peccary, four of the six species of alligator, as well as the giant anteater, giant armadillo, Yaguarundí, harpy eagle, the turtle with the side neck stained yellow and even the dog with small ears, the deer of the pampas and the wolf with mane, among others.
The reserve also provides habitats for eight different species of monkeys, including those that are easy to see or hear, such as the red howler monkey.
It is believed that particularly high levels of biodiversity are due to various geographic factors that make Tambopata unique:
It is located in a transitional area between tropical and subtropical rainforest.
The altitudes range between 200 m and 2,000 m (the Tambopata River reaches the Andes).
The rapid temperature changes caused by annual cold fronts “friajes” coming from the south.
The Reserve contains two islands of savannas (grasslands) called “Pampas del Heath”, which are among the last well preserved that exist in the Amazon.
Creation of the Tambopata National Reserve
From 1990, several biologists and conservationists began to investigate to protect the Tambopata area from development. They were passionate about the preservation of this area, because it is one of the last remaining and most extensive areas of the pristine jungle. Specifically, Tambopata is one of the few areas that contains foothills, cloud forests, lowlands and also connects with wet savannas. And the most important thing is that very few people lived in the most remote areas of Tambopata. The region could act as an important corridor between the Manu National Park and the Madidi jungles in Bolivia. The area also hosts populations of tapirs, jaguars and other felines, giant otters, harpy eagles, many types of macaws and several animals that had disappeared from other parts of the Amazon.
At first, the area that includes the current Tambopata National Reserve and the nearby Bahuaja Sonene National Park was known as the “Tambopata-Candamo Reserved Zone,” a former form of protection. The state left an open window for changes in land use, so the area was still at risk. To help give the area a more permanent state of protection, conservation organizations carried out more studies, which showed that the protection of the region was of vital importance for biodiversity. These studies helped to change the status of “reserved zone” to “Tambopata national reserve”, a more official and permanent protection.
Clay Licks – Collpas
Located in several places of the reserve, which attract birds and mammals. The best known is the Collpa de Guacamayos of “chuncho”, where different species of birds arrive after sunrise to enjoy mineral salts. Macaws, parrots and green, blue, red and yellow parakeets fly by the hundreds, creating a colorful and cacophonous spectacle that is truly a marvel to behold. Visiting a clay clay lick is an impressive excursion, it is worth observing this natural wonder.
Towers and bridges in the trees in Tambopata. (canopy walk way).
It is one thing to explore the jungle from the ground, where the trees stand like cathedrals wrapped in lush vegetation. It is a totally different world at the level of the canopy, from 25 to 40 meters above the ground, with an infinite forest that stretches before your eyes like a lush green sea. Fruits and flowers attract birds and small animals, which nest at these levels to keep themselves safe from larger predators. The monkeys jump from branch to branch, leaving a green whisper in their wake.