AMBORO NATIONAL PARK
This is a place of charming contrasts. That would be the best definition of Amboro National Park, located at the "Elbow of the Andes", the precise spot in the Department of Santa Cruz where the Western Cordillera changes direction toward the south.
This natural reserve in Bolivia -ranging in altitude from 300 to 3,200 meters above sea level- presents places that are somewhat inaccessible due to the fact that over time the crystal waters of the mountain streams have carved out deep canyons.
The climate of this natural reserve is temperate in the high areas and warm in the low ones. The average annual temperature ranges from 12 to 24 degrees Celsius, depending on the altitude of the different regions.
Flora and fauna
In the places where clouds permanently "flirt" with the slopes of Amboro, there are forests of giant ferns growing alongside cedars and maras (Swietenia macrophylla).
Here, everything is blanketed with intense greenery. Valleys, canyons and basins are difficult areas for access due to the constant rainfall during the day.
A natural scenario inviting exploration. An area showing no traces of man, let alone roads and pathways. This area, favored as a resting and feeding spot for migratory birds, is known as the yunga region, and exhibits an incomparable beauty of its own.
Thirty kilometers to the south, the rainfall is less persistent. In this place, the traveler will observe impressive mountains, many of which are overrun by herds of grazing cattle.
In this area of Amboro National Park, known as the region of dry or mesothermal valleys, the hills are festooned with cacti and thorn bushes. Also one notices the presence of a few isolated communities that have built roads and irrigation canals.
However, the wonder of the landscape is spread among the different altitude levels, where the trees and their seeds serve as home and sustenance respectively for the numerous species of birds that fly over this area.
In Amboro there are 700 species of birds, including both residents and migrants. Some of them such as the pava de copete de piedra and the milano are native to (and found almost exclusively in) the 637,000 hectares of this Bolivian park.
Within the fauna, certain other species are important, notably the jucumari (Tremarctos ornatus), jaguar (Panthera onca) and the oso bandera (Myrmecophaga tridactyla), some of which are or have been endangered.
Amboro National Park has many sights to offer: enormous and ancient trees, furious rivers like the Pirai and the Guenda, populated by hundreds of fish, these being only a few of the attractions of this natural area.
Present and future
The proximity of the Park to certain towns in the Department of Santa Cruz has not in itself led to the building of roads suitable for tourism. However, currently there are two precarious roadways that enable visitors to access the beauties of the Park.
The inflow of tourism has also brought tiny groups of unscrupulous people, whose illegal activities cause serious and irreparable damage to the environment. Over three decades ago, this area suffered a series of occupations, leading the government to launch its first colonization projects for eastern territories.
However, beyond these immediate plans and projects, there is no long-term concern over the possible slow destruction of the humid tropical forests of the Department of Santa Cruz, leading to the gradual silencing of the honking and cawing of the migratory birds flying over its rainy skies.
This is a place that not only invites one to admire its beauty, but also to develop zoological and botanical research projects. The creation of special eco-tourism areas will benefit both the local inhabitants and people worldwide who respect and admire wildlife.