Cutervo National Park, located in the northern Peruvian Andes, is Peru's oldest protected area. It was created to preserve flora and fauna diversity and the archaeological remains of the Cordillera de Tarros, which is home to the last cloud forests of Cajamarca and various ecosystems of native species.
Cutervo National Park
Cutervo National Park, located in the northern Peruvian Andes, is Peru's oldest protected area. The park occupies an area called Cordillera de Tarros in the Cajamarca region.
Established in 1961, it was created to preserve flora and fauna diversity and the archaeological remains of the Cordillera de Tarros, which is home to the last cloud forests of Cajamarca and various ecosystems of native species.
Cutervo National Park extends over 8,214 ha (20,297 acres) and protects areas of Andean montane forests and páramo for headwater conservation. These areas are the habitat of animal species such as the spectacled bear, mountain tapir, oilbird, and plant species like the Andean wax palms.
The most prominent geographical feature, at the highest elevation in the park, is the mountain range Cordillera de Tarros. This mountain has several caves and is the origin of several streams. The park's elevation ranges from 1,550 - 3,500 m (5,000 - 11,500 ft) above sea level.
Cutervo National Park protects part of the Peruvian Yungas ecoregion. Various ecological communities exist within the park, including wet montane forests, high-elevation grasslands above 3000 m (9,850 ft), rivers, and small lakes.
Human occupation in the area dates back to the pre-Columbian era. In addition, archaeological remains are present inside the national park, primarily within the El Perolito Archaeological Site.
Forests in the area are covered by clouds and fog almost year-round. The area's average annual rainfall is over 800 mm (31 in), and the maximum is nearly 2,000 mm (79 in).
The temperature ranges between 18 - 23 °C (64 - 73 °F) at 1,000 - 2,000 m and between 7 - 14 °C (45 - 57 °F) at 2,500 - 3,500 m (8,200 - 11,500 ft).
Flora and Fauna
Over 700 species of vascular plants have been recorded in the National Park. Many are broadleaved trees (e.g., Chionanthus pubescens, Cornus peruviana, Hedyosmum scabrum, Morus insignis, Ocotea arnottiana, Prunus integrifolia, Polylepis multijuga, Vallea stipularis, etc.), conifer (Podocarpus oleifolius), and palm trees (e.g., Ceroxylon spp.). Orchids are represented by 88 recorded morphospecies.
Cutervo National Park is home to mammal species facing the risk of extinction, such as the neotropical otter, the mountain tapir, the spectacled bear, the mountain paca, the giant anteater, and a species of wild cat (Leopardus colocolo).
Bird species like the oilbird, the golden-headed quetzal, and the Andean cock-of-the-rock also live within the park. In addition, a species of catfish (Astroblepus rosei) can be seen in the underground streams of the caves inside the park.