Manu, located in the southern orient
of Peru, is one of the largest parks in South America.
The area of the park encompasses parts of the Andean
department of Cusco and the jungle department of Madre
de Dios. Manu protects over 2 million hectares (4.5
million acres) of territory rich in flora and fauna
species in a variety of habitats including high Andes,
cloud forests, and lowland tropical rain forests.
This natural paradise is officially recognized by UNESCO
as a world heritage site. In 1977 they designated Manu
as a World Biosphere Reserve because it contains the
best existing example of biodiversity in protected areas
of rain forest, as well as endemic areas of cloud
forest. The majority of forests in the world have been
altered by humans. Fortunately, Manu has remained intact
and untouched by civilization.
Thus, we can observe a variety of animals in their
natural habitats, including: Giant Otters (Pteronura
brasilensis), Black Caiman (Melanosuchus niger), the
majestic Jaguar (Panthera onca), the strange Spectacled
Bear (Tremarctos ornatus), the Tapir (Tapirus terrestris),
the Ocelot (Felis pardalis), 13 species of primates, and
an estimated one thousand species of birds including
seven Macaws (Ara spp.).
Manu also contains 10% of the world's vascular plant
species, including several species of figs and palms, as
well as countless species of medicinal plants that
scientists are currently cataloguing. A single hectare
of forest in Manu can have up to 220 species of trees,
while a hectare of temperate forest in Europe or North
America may only have 20 tree species. The Manu National
Park may be the most biological diverse and protected
park on the planet.