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  HOME | Science, Nature & Technology

Bolivia National Park Expeditions Lead to Possible Discovery of New Species

LA PAZ – A report stemming from a series of expeditions inside Bolivia’s Madidi National Park indicates the potential discovery of new species for science and reveals the vast biodiversity of that natural reserve.

As of September 2017, the Identidad Madidi scientific expeditions have covered at least 15 areas of that national park, located in the upper Amazon river basin in northwestern Bolivia, and documented the wide variety of flora and fauna they contain.

The expeditions are aimed at confirming Madidi’s status as the protected area with the world’s greatest biological diversity, as well as underscoring the need to safeguard its natural riches.

The report, which was published in recent days by the Wildlife Conservation Society and documents the results in six areas, summarizes the work conducted by a score of Bolivian researchers, a team coordinated by the United Kingdom’s Robert Wallace.

Madidi covers an area of 1.8 million hectares (6,950 sq. miles), less than 0.0037 percent of the Earth’s surface, yet it is home to 3 percent of the world’s plant species, nearly 4 percent of its vertebrate species and 9 percent of its bird species, according to the inventory, to which EFE obtained access.

The expeditions have identified at least 36 possible new species for science: 30 plants, three amphibians, a reptile and two fish, the report said.

The park was known to contain at least 5,120 species of plants prior to this latest research, but that number has now risen to 5,225 species.

The scientists have registered 52 mammal species that had not been found before in Madidi, as well as a bat species that had never before been spotted in Bolivia.

These animals include the common yellow-toothed cavy; the long-tailed weasel, which is difficult to observe in the wild; and the water opossum.

The expeditions have registered 27 species of amphibians and reptiles not found before in Madidi, bringing to 190 the total number of these types of animals inside the natural reserve.

Four of those animals are potential new discoveries for science.

 

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