Tambopata – Puerto Maldonado

Tambopata-Candamo is a nature reserve in the Peruvian Amazon Basin south of the Madre de Dios River in Tambopata Provinces Inambari and Tambopata districts. It was created on January 26, 1990, to protect the forests adjacent to the rivers Heath and Tambopata that have two important ecosystems and are noted for its biodiversity, representing native flora and fauna with 165 species and 41 families of trees, 103 species of mammals, 1300 species of butterflies and 90 species of amphibians.

The reserve is located across the regions of Madre de Dios and Puno:
• Tambopata is the 40% of the reserve in the department of Madre de Dios.

• Carabaya and Sandia are the 60% of the reserve in the department of Puno.

Access is from Puerto Maldonado, where one can get to the preserve via the Tambopata River; or by car via the Puerto Maldonado–Cuzco Road.

Geography
It has a superface area of 1,478,942 hectares (3,654,550 acres).
The Sandoval Lake is located in this area. There is also a circuit of canoeing which is considered one of the most exciting and beautiful circuit of Peru.

The protected area features eight life zones: subtropical humid forest, tropical humid forest, subtropical high-humidity forest, subtropical high-humidity foothills cloud forest, subtropical rainforest, tropical cloud forest foothills, subtropical lower foothills cloud forest and semi-flooded subtropical cloud forest.

Average annual temperature is 26°C, ranging from 10-38°C; with average annual rainfall of 1600–2400 mm. Rainfall in the protected area is typical of most areas in the Peruvian Amazon. The climate is humid and (3000 mm and 25°C on average), sub-level humidity and semi-warm (1700 mm and 26°C on average), high-level semi-warm (4000 mm and 23°C).

History
A conservation process in the Tambopata Province (Madre de Dios) was initiated in Tambopata, where a group of naturalists and biologists proposed the conservation of 10,000 hectares of rainforests in the middle Tambopata River (January 3, 1977). This was established as "Zona Reservada Tambopata" in the territory of the traditional tribe Eseeja. It was created for the conservation of the Amazon forest and for scientific research, as well as for tourism. In July 1977, the government had an arrangement with the Peruvian Safaris, owner of Explorer's Inn. This operator got an agreement for only five years. Differently, in 1983, the Santuario Nacional Pampas Del Heath was established, with a surface area of 105.957 hectares (261.83 acres). The purpose was to protect the unique territory of Sabana Húmeda Tropical in Peru.

The Tambopata National Reserve was declared by means of the Supreme Law # 048-2000-AG by the area's committee planner. This proposition was elaborated in the background of the "Conservation of the Tropical Ecosystems Project and the sustainable use of the natural resources inside the Candamo Tambopata Reserve Area". Also, a damp area of the Tambopata National Reserve was determined as the Bahuaja Sonene National Park, formed by 271,582 hectares (671,090 acres) exclusive of the Tambopata – Candamo Reserve.

Population
There is a tribe called the Ess Ejja or Huarayos that live in the reserve, next to the Quechuas and Aymaras. They have activities such as agriculture (coffee), hunting, fishing and foraging.

The limited presence of humans had done a wonderful conservation of different ecosystems. There are so many species that surprise any scientist: 1,234 types of different butterflies, 592 of birds, 127 of amphibians, 103 of mammals, 74 reptiles and a lot of varieties.

Flora
The Tambopata River is one of the exclusive habitats of birds and mammals. Flora in the national reserve is fairly typical of the southwest Amazon Basin. The Heath River and surrounding plains are a unique ecosystem in Peru. The pampas are periodically flooded, and small groves of trees with varied plant life grow in isolated clumps on the plain.

The protected area is home of a wide diversity of plants, including exploited forest species such as cedar, mahogany, tornillo, Brazil nut, palm trees such as the pona, aguaje, huasaí and ungurahui.

Fauna
Researchers have discovered in the protected area large numbers of species that are now rarely found elsewhere in the Amazon jungle due to poaching, particularly tapirs and spider monkeys, but also jaguars, white-lipped peccary, medium-sized and large monkeys and caiman.

Within the reserve, the lower elevation zone is dominated mostly by Amazonian bird species, the ones that are at or near their upper elevation limits, and by species that are restricted (or partially restricted) to the narrow band of rain forest found on the lower slopes of the Andes. Because of the growing deforestation rate along this latitudinal border in other parts of the Andes, this ecosystem is one of these most threatened in all of South America. A relatively large portion of this ecosystem is found within the Bahuaja-Sonene National Park.

Economic activities
The economic activities of that area are fishing, hunting, agriculture and foraging. But the most important is the tourism. Madre de Dios is home of 25 registered tourist lodges, 11 of which lie within the buffer zone and two within the reserve.

Tourism in the protected area is concentrated around the Tambopata River and the lower Madre de Dios. Ever year, 7-8,000 tourists visit the area mainly from abroad.

Tourists are charged an entry fee to visit, and the amount depends on the activity: whether the tourist is spending the night, visiting the macaw clay lick or whitewater river rafting. The area features a rafting circuit which runs down the Tambopata River from Putina Punco crossing the entire national park down to Puerto Maldonado.

The best period of the year to visit it is between June and October. Because in those months the weather is very dry. In order to enjoy your trip, you should have to follow a tourist guide, who has the knowledge of that natural reserve.

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