The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) says a remote park in northwest Bolivia may be the most biologically diverse place on earth. A list of species that reside in the Bolivian park, Madidi National Park, was was released at the IUCN World Conservation Congress. The creatures living in Madidi include the excited looking parrot snake pictured above. The parrot snake is one of at least 50 different snake species in Madidi. The park contains cloud forests between 3,280 and 9,842 feet. Scientists say two thirds of Madidi's total biodiversity has yet to be formally registered or observed by scientists.
Madidi is home to 11% of the world's birds, more than 200 species of mammals, almost 300 types of fish, and 12,000 plant varieties. The resulting compendium estimates 1,868 vertebrates for Madidi, including 1,088 species of birds. Only eleven countries have more bird species than Madidi National Park. The entire U.S. contains less than 900 bird species. Mammals range from the 661-pound lowland tapir, an Amazonian herbivore, to the tiny insectivorous Spix's disk-winged bat that weighs just 4 grams. There are 60 species of hummingbird in the park.
WCS's Madidi Landscape Program Director Dr. Robert Wallace said in a statement, "With Madidi's almost 6,000-meter (19,685 feet) altitudinal range, no other protected area captures the diversity of South American habitats that pushes these numbers through the ceiling. All the scientists who contributed to this compendium feel privileged to work in Madidi, and we are all very happy to help SERNAP promote the national and international conservation importance of the area."
Photo: Mileniusz Spanowicz/WCS