With 84 of the 104 known life zones on the planet, Peru ranks among the first in the world in biodiversity. It is the first in birds, with 1,701 species, second in primates with 34 species, third in mammals with 361, fifth in reptiles with 297 and fifth in amphibians with 251. The Tambopata–Candamo National Reserve is a paradise of megadiver-sity.
Biodiversity inventories have provided ample evidence that Tambopata is arguably the most diverse corner of Amazonia and Puerto Maldonado was officially recognised by the Peruvian government as the Biodiversity Capital of the nation in 1994.Tambopata is home to approximately 7% of the world’s bird species (~600) and 4% of the world’s mammal species (~160). It is thought that the high levels of biodiversity observed are the result of the fact that Tambopata lies in a transitional zone between humid tropical and subtropical rainforest (ONERN 1972); the altitudinal gradient from north to south varies from 200m to 2,000m; precipitation varies consider-ably from year to year (mean 2,400 mm); rapid changes in temperature are common during the dry season (April-October), with a minimum of 8 ºC a maximum of 34 ºC (mean 24 ºC); island savannah ecosystems are present to the east (Pampas del Heath); and there is biological evidence to suggest that Tambopata was once a Pleistocene “refugium” for many species. Conservation International has identified Peru as a “megadiverse” country and theTambopata region as an important international biodiversity “hotspot”.