ULLA ULLA NATIONAL RESERVE
A blue sky with huge "cotton-wool" clouds is the natural background for the slow and stately flight of the king of the winged predators on the Andes heights: the Condor.
This is a wonderful, moving and unforgettable spectacle that one often sees in the cross-wind scenario of Ulla Ulla National Reserve, located in the Franz Tamayo province of the Department of La Paz.
In this area, the Andean Condor (Vultur gryphus), the
largest flying bird in the world, impresses one not only with
its prodigious size (it often stands at over one meter in height),
but also with its agile and surprising aerial acrobatics, even
more astonishing bearing in mind that each individual weighs more
than eleven kilos.
Mostly a carrion eater, the Condor is featherless on its head and neck. Its huge feet have clawless toes that prevent it from carrying its food as eagles and hawks do.
Within its enormous craw, located at the base of its neck, it can easily transport up to 4 kilos of food. Its muscular wings enable it to glide along the air currents in an amazing spectacle that enthralls nature lovers.
A varied fauna
The predominant vegetation in this area is the herb pasture, explaining
the presence of a great number of different camelids such as llamas,
alpacas and guanacos. Here one may also observe the largest population
of vicuņas (Vicugna vicugna) in Bolivia.
Likewise, the tourist will find species such as the puma (Felis
concolor), the taruca (Hippocamelus anticiencis),
the Andean bear (Dusicyon culpaeus), the hullata (Chloephaga
melanoptera), the deer (Odocoileus virginianus),
Ulla Ulla National Reserve also offers a wide range of alternatives for eco-tourism and different adventure sports, such as sport fishing, mountaineering and trekking, among others.
On the high Andes plains is located the Apolobamba Cordillera -whose mean altitude is 5,500 meters- giving this area a unique appearance. Geologists have identified three main areas.
The first consists of "shard-covered" flatlands; the second is the low areas facing the Cordillera, and the third is a sedimentary area near the Suches river.
Ulla Ulla is located on an immense high Andean plateau that may be considered as part of the north "Altiplano". The weather here is cold and humid and the average altitude is 4,400 meters above sea level
Local population and economic activities
In the area of the Reserve there is a population of over 12,000,
divided into 35 communities. The main economic activity in this
part of Bolivia is camelid (alpaca and llama) and sheep
farming. The population is of Aymara ethnic stock. They
live in small communities on the plateau and maintain traditions
and rituals that are thousands of years old.
Its wide plains, grazed by camelids, its colorful glacial lakes and its impressive snowcapped peaks, like that of Katantika -that guard an area of over 200,000 hectares- make Ulla Ulla National Reserve a place full of tradition, charm and beauty.