A recent study shows that the Manu National Park in Peru's southern Cusco and Madre de Dios regions has scored a new biodiversity record.
The study published in the journal Biota Neotropica cataloged 155 amphibian and 132 reptile species from the park and its buffer zone, putting Manu at the top of the list of natural protected areas in terms of amphibian and reptile diversity.
The western side of the Amazon Basin, especially the region at the foothill of the Peruvian Andes, exhibits a very high level of biodiversity compared with other parts of the world.
Up until recently, Yasuní National Park in Ecuador ranked first with 150 amphibian and 121 reptile species; both Manu and Yasuní protect undisturbed lowland rainforest, but Manu National Park also protects high-elevation cloud forests and Andean grasslands.
"The number of species recorded in Manu is unique, especially if we consider that this National Park represents only 0.01% of the planet’s land area. But we can find here 2.2% of all amphibians and 1.5% of all reptiles known worldwide," say the experts behind the study in a press release.
"Amphibians such as toads, salamanders, frogs and caecilians, and reptiles such as lizards, turtles, snakes and caimans thrive there."
Manu is also known for other long-held records of biodiversity: in the Park more than 1,000 species of birds (about 10% of the world’s bird species) and more than 1,200 species of butterflies have been recorded.
Additionally, Manu and its buffer zone are areas are important for it’s cultural value. Here we can find differnent indigenous ethnic groups (the Matsiguenka, Harakmbut, and Yine) . There is also a group that lives in “voluntary isolation” : the Mashco-Piro, who live as nomadic hunter- gatherers.
Scientific research conducted over the past four decades recognized Manu National Park as a globally irreplaceable site.
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