Manu National Park was established to protect part of the most biodiverse area on earth, where the mountains of the eastern Andes meet the lowland of the western Amazon basin; this region is known as the Tropical Andes Biodiversity Hotspot. The variety of habitats within the park from the Andean highlands at 3800 m elevation to the lowland forests at 200 m, are home to the world’s greatest diversity of life and make the area a must visit destination for anyone interested in the natural world.

This great diversity is reflected in all taxonomic groups. More than 5,000 species of plant, equivalent to 1/6th of all the world’s flora, have been recorded including a staggering 1,437 in one area around Cocha Cashu research station.

Amongst the animals, the vertebrates are the best known groups with 221 mammals (5% of the world total), 1,025 birds (10%), 150 amphibians, 100 reptiles being known to date; though new species of all groups have been described in recent years and more undoubtedly await discovery. Some 210 fish species have been documented in the rivers and lakes of the park.

Amongst the invertebrates, 1307 butterflies (15% of the world total), 136 dragonflies, 650 beetles

and more than 300 species of ant have been described but many more undoubtedly occur. In total it is estimated that the park may support more than 500,000 species of living organism making it the most biodiverse protected area in Peru and probably in the world and certainly the most accessible for the visitor.

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