Peru is a country located on the western side of South America and is one of the countries known for great biodiversity. This is because 60% of the country is part of the Amazon basin making it a hub for a myriad of flora and fauna species. The country’s ecosystem spreads wide and far from the thick Amazon forest to the dry coast and the high Andean mountains. This is definitely a great place to visit for any nature and wildlife enthusiast as it home to around 500 mammals of which 70 are endemic, over 1800 bird species, and over 300 species of reptiles.
For an in-depth wildlife experience in Peru, it’s worth having a look at a company like Wild Watch Peru. It is a local family owned tour company that specializes in wildlife tours, in particular the amazing Manu National Park. This is an area with unique flora and fauna. Wild Watch Peru organize memorable tours for groups of friends, families, couples, and also students looking to expand their knowledge of nature and sustainability. The tours include viewing the beautiful landscape, observing wildlife, exploring the diverse vegetation of the area and immersing in the locals’ culture and traditions.
I think a great thing about the company is that they’re dedicated to the conservation of the environment, and this is why they run the Guadalupe Lodge and Nature Reserve with a policy of sustainability and ‘green’ behavior. While at the lodge, you get to learn many things like reforestation, growing and maintaining your own fruit and spice garden, and unique architecture. Other activities include viewing the blue and gold macaws, visiting caves, nature trails, swimming in the river, and walks in the garden.
Let’s have a look at what Peru has on offer for the true wilderness lover.
Birds of Peru
There are over 1800 bird species in the country which is the second highest number for any country in the world. These birds can be found in 3 regions in Peru namely: the south (Arequipa, Nazca, and Ica), the North (Trujillo, Tumbes, and Iquitos) and the central region (Lima, Cusco, and Puno). The number of birds found in these areas is more than those of North America and Europe combined, making Peru an ideal destination for ornithologists and bird lovers. Nearly 85% of the birds reside in the country all year round, and 120 of the species are endemic. As years go by, new discoveries of existing species are being made, in fact, over the last 30 years, 42 different species of bird have been discovered throughout the country. Peru’s national bird is the Andean cock-of-the-rock.
Mammals and Marine Animals
There are over 400 species of mammals found on the coast, in the Amazon jungle, and in the mountain areas. Some of them include the monkeys, baby soft Alpaca, and the black jaguar. Peru has created a name as one of the best places for spotting whales and other marine animals. In the northern Amazon regions, candy-colored pink dolphins and river otters can frequently be spotted while in the central and southern regions, you can easily spy sea lions and otters. Of the 400 species of mammals, 70 are endemic to the region like the yellow-tailed woolly monkey while more than 100 are endangered or threatened.
The beauty of butterflies can be unraveled in areas like Iquitos, the Madre De Dois department, the Amazon, and at Cusco. Experience peace and tranquility as you watch these delicate creatures as they fly across the sky and shift from one flower to the next acting as pollinating agents. Butterflies are like a work of art and they come in different sizes, shapes, and color in over 400 species in Peru. They include Dione, Metardaris, Pedaliodes, Corades, Colias, Junea, and Lymanopoda.
For impressive and multicolored species of orchids and other flower species, visit areas like the San Martin Department, the rainforest, and the northern coast. Be awed by their beauty as they bloom, come alive, and brighten the day. Watch as a variety of bees, butterflies, and a vast array of pollinators hop from one flower to the next.
Amphibians’ enthusiasts can quench their thirst in areas like Iquitos, Tambopata, and Manu forest which are the best areas to view these creatures. You can spot them on trees or as they move around the vegetation. With over 380 species, amphibians keep increasing as the discovery of new ones prompts their addition to the Peruvian catalogue.
There are over 300 species of reptiles in Peru, 100 of which are endemic. Here, you can expect giant anacondas, caimans, lizards, turtles, and crocodiles. The most concentrated habitat for the reptiles is on the eastern side of Peru in the rainforest of the Amazon. Due to their ectothermic nature, reptiles require a warm and tropical environment to survive and reproduce and these areas offer the ideal climate.
Popular National Parks and Reserves in Peru
Manu National Park and Biosphere Reserve: It is located on the slopes of the Andes and it is the second most protected area in Peru. Manu is a very attractive area to visit. It covers an area of over a million hectares and is considered one of the the most biodiverse areas in the world and has over 1000 bird species and around 200 mammal species. Here, you will come across animals like the puma, jaguars, monkeys, and bears. Endangered species like the caimans, giant river otters, and the ocelots are protected here. Botanists can marveled at the multitude of plant species available which is higher than any other protected area on earth.
Tambopata national reserve: It mainly consists of lowland forest found along the Tambopata River. Unfortunately, due to poaching in other areas, some of the species found here can rarely be found anywhere else. There are over 10,000 plant species, 600 bird species, 90 amphibian species, 1300 butterfly species, and over 200 mammal species. The area covers over 250,000 hectares of land. Its close proximity to the town makes easily accessible and ideal for people working on a budget. Animals around here include macaws, spider monkeys, jaguars and the caiman.
Huascaran national park: It has been named a UNESCO heritage site. Over the years, it has become a coveted site for climbing and hiking enthusiasts, both amateur and experts, as it houses the largest mountain in Peru, mount Huascaran. Containing over 200 lakes, 600 glaciers, and mountains that vary in height, this place is truly magical with amazing scenery to behold. There are over 100 bird species and a number of endangered mammals like the Andean cat and the spectacled bears.
The country’s climate varies depending on the region. Moderate temperatures and high humidity can be experienced on the coastal sides while the mountain area goes through a period of rain during summer and the Amazon side in Peru has heavy rainfall and high temperatures. This is a very beautiful country with so much to offer. It has been able to overcome issues like timber exploitation, unsustainable agriculture, development of petroleum, and mining operations and set up measures to protect its nature and wildlife. Now, it boasts of being one of the best wilderness tourist destinations in the world.