Amboró National Park (Bolivia)

Amboró National Park (Bolivia)

Sun, 04/16/2017 - 18:10
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Noted for its rugged and varied topography, Amboró National Park lies within three distinct ecosystems: the foothills of the Andes, the northern Chaco, and the Amazon Basin. Nowhere else in the world do three such diverse environments coincide, making Amboró a unique host to a wide range of flora and fauna.

Amboró National Park is located in the western part of Santa Cruz Department, Bolivia, at the "Elbow of the Andes" where the eastern cordillera bends slightly westward from its northerly course. Noted for its rugged and varied topography, Amboró National Park lies within three distinct ecosystems: the foothills of the Andes, the northern Chaco, and the Amazon Basin. Nowhere else in the world do three such diverse environments coincide, making Amboró a unique host to a wide range of flora and fauna.

Noted for its rugged and varied topography, the park protects parts of several ecoregions: Southwest Amazon moist forests, Chaco, Bolivian montane dry forests and Bolivian Yungas at higher elevations.

Amboró National Park is one of the most botanically rich national parks in the world. The current number of documented plant species totals around 3,000. Vegetational diversity can be attributed to the park's distinct ecosystems which is made up of lowland forests, cloud forests, palm forests, tree-fern forests, cactus forests, tropical yungas forests, montane scrublands, pampas and more.

Located only 40 km (25 mi) west of Santa Cruz, in the Andean foothills of Bolivia, Amboró spans 4,425 sq km (1,708 sq mi) stretching all the way to the borders of Carrasco National Park in the department of Cochabamba. The park is also part of the Vilcabamba – Amboró Corridor that begins at the Vilcabamba mountains in Peru and extends all the way to Bolivia.

The park presents a high level of endemism, with 173 species of amphibians and 50 species of toads alone, in addition to 135 species of reptiles. The number of bird species observed within the area exceeds 912, or more than 60% of the country’s total. 177 species of mammals have been registered; among them 43 species of bats. Among the large mammals found are the spectacled bear (locally known as the jucumari), the jaguar, and the giant anteater.

The altitude in the park ranges from 300 m (980 ft) up to 3,338 m (10,951 ft) in the westernmost part of the park in an area called "Siberia". Most of the park has elevations of between 1,000 m (3,300 ft) and 2,000 m (6,600 ft). Annual rainfall ranges between 1,400 mm (55 in) and 4,000 mm (160 in).

In 1984, with the help of esteemed conservation biologist Noel Kempff, British zoologist Robin Clark, and other notable researchers, Amboró was legally given the status "National Park" in order to protect the ecological hotspot from human settlements, hunting, mining and deforestation. One of the most biodiverse parks in the world, the preservation of Amboró is of immense importance to the scientific community.