:: NATURAL BIODIVERSITY
Peru has sparked a series of world records that would astonish even the most skeptical researcher. Due to the astounding variety of climates and ecosystems, it is among the world’s top eight nations in terms of biodiversity where one can find 84 of the 104 life zones existing around the planet.
Thirteen percent of the Amazon tropical forests are in Peru, and Peru ranks 8th in the world for total forest area. The Colca and Cotahuasi canyons, in Arequipa, vie for first place as the deepest on earth. The largest river in the world, the Amazon, begins in Peru and most of the world's highest navigable lake, Titicaca, is within Peruvian territory.
Peru is one of only 12 countries in the world that rank as biological megadiversity. There are almost 25,000 species of plants (10% of the world total), of which 30% are only found in Peru.
In wildlife, it ranks top in diversity of fish (2,000 species, equal to 10% of the world's species), first in birds (1,816 species, including the condor).
Peru is also home to about 10% of all mammals and reptiles living on the planet and more than 20% of the earth’s birds. The late Theodore Parker III, famous American field ornithologist once said “Peru offers bird enthusiasts more than any other country in the world…Being here is like being a child visiting a huge store filled with new and fascinating toys. He was right.
Third in amphibians (379 species, including the black crocodile), third in mammals (462 species, including the ocelot and black spectacled bear), and first in butterflies.
It ranks second in the world for its variety of primates 35 species, including the unique woolly, yellow-tailed monkey.
There are 460 species of mammals that are catalogued as original to Peru, 1,745 species of birds, 297 species of reptiles, 332 amphibians, 1,800 ocean and fresh water fish, and thousands of species of mollusks, spiders and insects.
The insects also deserve special mention. On one single tree in the Tambopata amazon in Peru`s southeast, scientists identified over 5000 different species, including more ant species that can be found in all of the british isles. Amazing, right?