A recently compiled Who’s who of Bolivian mammals describes over a hundred species endemic to Bolivia, shedding light on the country’s vast wildlife diversity.
- The survey includes animals ranging from the pacarana to the Tolkein-like Chacoan fairy armadillo.
In between are a host of better known species such as the jaguar, bush dog, black spider monkey, vicuna, giant anteater, and the water opossum,
Bolivia is teeming with wildlife. Madidi National park in the northwestern part of the country may be the most biologically diverse place on earth.
- Ranging from lowland tropical forests of the Amazon to snow-capped peaks of the High Andes, the 7,335 square mile (19,000 square-kilometer) park contains 11 percent of the world’s birds, more than 200 species of mammals, almost 300 types of fish, and 12,000 plant varieties.
Bordering Peru, Madidi is estimated to hold a population of at least 14,500 lowland tapirs making it one of the most important strongholds for the species on the continent. But as elsewhere, species are winking out.
- The ancient Beni savanna is home to the Maned wolf. Demand for farmland and pressure to convert the ancient savanna into cattle pasture and soy fields has been disastrous for the species which is fighting for survival. Less than 1000 remain in the wild.
The Barba Azul Nature Reserve is home to the critically endangered Blue-throated Macaw. The bird is almost impossible to see given there are only 300 of them in an area almost twice the size of Texas.
The bird was thought lost until the discovery a few years ago of a large roosting site.
Compiling the database helped biologists in Bolivia identify where there is a lack of information about specific species and geographic areas where few records exist. For example, a small spotted cat called the oncilla is expected to occur across at least 50 percent of the country but there have only been 19 confirmed records to date.
Shout Out: Science Daily.