Specificity of Bolivian fauna and floraSpecificity of Bolivian fauna and flora

Specificity of Bolivian fauna and flora

Bolivia has an exceptional biodiversity, the preservation of which is of crucial importance.

The great diversity of geographical areas and climates, and the low population density has favored the appearance of many animal and plant species. Some areas are home to species that are unique in the world and typical of their region. 

However, some are now in danger of extinction: changes in the ecosystem caused by human activity have threatened many species, including 16 reptiles and 13 mammals. The stakes are therefore high to protect these species, which will become extinct if no measures are taken to avoid it. This is a real political and educational challenge for a country where economic development is often perceived as a priority over true protection of the ecology.  

Given the incredible climatic diversity according to the regions, here are some specificities of the Bolivian fauna and flora by region:  

In the Altiplano

The famous llamas (in Spanish llama, pronounced ''i-ama'') are the most distinctive of the region. Animals venerated by the Incas and the Aymara chiefs, a favorite offering of the Pachamama during ceremonies and rituals, it is very difficult to find them in the wild today. All of them were domesticated, to produce wool, milk, to carry luggage when traveling, for its meat sold very expensive, in short, the llama, for its resistance to the extreme conditions of the Altiplano (cold, wind, lack of diversified food, etc.) is the ideal beast of burden. Contrary to what Captain Hadock will tell you, he hardly spits either. 

It should not be confused with the alpaca, whose hair is longer and whose snout is more crushed. Another similar animal, the vicuna (vigoña in Spanish) is on the verge of extinction: its curly fleece is extremely expensive, and it has never been domesticated (hence the vertiginous decrease in their population). 

The unforgettable condor still inhabits the remote caves of the high peaks and flies over the plateaus; it is the heaviest bird of prey in the world! Its wingspan can reach 3m in diameter, and its powerful claws carry up to 20 kg. 

In the salt deserts of Uyuni and its region in particular, but also throughout the Altiplano, a long-tailed rabbit called the viscacha hides under the rocks. 

Traces of puma have reportedly been discovered, but their existence in the wild has yet to be proven. Some species native to the Andes are now in danger of extinction: the fox, the Andean deer called taruka, the titi monkey... 

In terms of vegetation, the extreme cold leaves nothing but dry plants, slow to mature, and difficult to burn. We find the queña, or quenua, dwarf tree of the heights. For the happiness of the inhabitants of the highlands, there is also the yareta. This species of moss grows on stones; it is as hard as rock because of its saturation in sap, and grows concentrically for hundreds of years. This moss can be torn from its base, and is an excellent fuel for heating during the long winter nights when the cold burns the cheeks. 

 Coming down from the high plateaus

The most widespread and typical animal is the ñandu : this small wild ostrich from South America populates the slopes of the Cordillera, especially in the Sajama Natural Park, and up to the flat expanses of the low plateaus of the southwest. 

In the south, flamingos make their appearance. 

The vegetation is characterized by cacti such as Puya Raimondi, thorny shrubs, etc..  

The Amazon 

The queen in terms of the concentration of diversity of fauna and flora. We could not mention all the rare and strange animals that this primary forest shelters; here are a few examples, however: caimans and small alligators, jaguars, parrots, anacondas and other gigantic snakes, giant otters, anteaters, tapirs, turtles, monkeys in abundance, peccaries...

In the plains of the Chaco, in the southwest, we find guanacos. As for the fauna, the Amazonian flora is breathtakingly diverse; there are carnivorous plants, huge trees, flowers of unknown and unbelievable colors...

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