Tambopata National Reserve

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Tambopata National Reserve: A huge reserve of rainforest in the departamento (province) of Madre de Dios, Tambopata has outstanding biodiversity: more species of birds (nearly 600) and butterflies (1,200) than any place of similar size on earth, as well as a dozen different types of forest and gorgeous oxbow lakes, and at least 13 endangered animal species. The famous Tambopata macaw clay lick, where thousands of brilliantly colored macaws and parrots gather daily for feedings, ranks as one of the wildlife highlights of Peru.

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The reserve stretches over 247,690 hectares (612,055 acres) and is located in Madre de Dios department, Tambopata province. Without a doubt, the reserve is one of the best places to discover the Amazon, offering one of the highest levels of biological diversity in the world (632 species of birds, 169 mammals and 1,200 butterflies). Additionally, the reserve is surrounded by the Bahuaja Sonene National Park on the south side, making it an important conservation area in Peru.Sandoval Lake is the most visited attraction in the Park due to its closeness to Puerto Maldonado (only half an hour by boat). On the lake, which is home to macaws and a numerous river otter families, there are lodges for accommodation. There is also an observation tower for a panoramic view of the vast landscape.

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Another attraction is the rock formations found on the river banks. Hundreds of birds (macaws, falcons and parrots) gather on the rocks offering a spectacular sight of color and sound, particularly between 5:30 am and 9:00 am. Mammals such as wild pigs, peccary and tapirs can generally be seen at night on mountain or inland rock formations. One of these is the Colorado rock formation, the biggest in the entire Peruvian Amazon.

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History of Tambopata National Reserve

The forests and savannahs of Bahuaja National Park are believed to have existed for anywhere from 30 to 50 million years. The vast rainforests of the Amazon basin are believed to have formed around that time in conjunction with a warm, moist climate related to widening of the Atlantic Ocean. Up until 10 to 15 millions years ago, parts of western Amazonia were located beneath water and this may have included the area of Bahuaja-Sonene at various times during it history.
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The rainforests of the Amazon and Bahuaja-Sonene are also thought to have gone through dry periods associated with glaciation in other parts of the globe during the past one million years. As climate in some parts of the Amazon basin became drier and converted the rainforests into savannahs, the area encompassed by the national park and much of southeastern Peru are believed to have retained their forest cover. Arguments for this are supported by southeastern Peru being one of the most biodiverse areas of the entire Amazon rainforest and the existence of several species of plants and animals that are endemic to the region.

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