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Amazing diversity documented in national park
Date:9/12/2012

JEJU, REPUBLIC OF KOREA (September 12, 2012) A remote park in northwest Bolivia may be the most biologically diverse place on earth, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), which helped put together a comprehensive list of species found there. The announcement was released at the IUCN World Conservation Congress, an international gathering of conservationists meeting through Sept. 13 in Jeju, South Korea.

The list, published in a compendium by the Bolivian Park Service (SERNAP) and funded by WCS, shows that Madidi National Park contains 11 percent of the world's birds, more than 200 species of mammals, almost 300 types of fish, and 12,000 plant varieties. The 19,000 square-kilometer (7,335 square mile) park is known for its array of altitudinal gradients and habitats from lowland tropical forests of the Amazon to snow-capped peaks of the High Andes.

The report compiles the work of more than 50 scientists from WCS, Bolivian Fauna Collection, Bolivian National Herbarium, Amazon Conservation Association, Armonia, Missouri Botanical Garden, and others some of whom have worked in the park for 15 years. At the request of the Bolivian Park Service (SERNAP), the scientists gathered at a workshop in late 2008 to collectively summarize what is known about the park, including how many species Madidi contains and its conservation needs for the future.

The resulting compendium estimates 1,868 vertebrates for Madidi, including 1,088 species of birds. Only eleven countries have more bird species than Madidi National Park; the entire U.S. contains less than 900 bird species. Mammals range from the 300-kilogram (661-pound) lowland tapir, an Amazonian herbivore, to the tiny insectivorous Spix's disk-winged bat that weighs just 4 grams (.14 ounces). Bird species range from the harpy eagle, one of most powerful birds of prey in the world whose diet includes sloths and monkeys, to the diminutive festive coquette, one of 60 specie
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Contact: Stephen Sautner
ssautner@wcs.org
718-220-3682
Wildlife Conservation Society
Source:Eurekalert  

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