- 1. ARGENTINA;
Area: 2,787,377 km2
TOUR DESTINATIONS IN ARGENTINA;
- 1. IGUAZU NATIONAL PARK (Argentina) and IGUACU NATIONAL PARK (Brazil)
Establishment: Iguazu national park (established in 1909). Iguacu national park(established in 1939). Parque Nacional Iguazu in north eastern Argentina and Parque Nacional Iguacu, Brazil’s largest national park in south western Brazil, are contiguous, located on both sides of Rio Iguacu, east of its junction with Rio parana, which forms the boundary with Paraguay. The chief features of the parks are the extraordinary cataracts of Rio Iguacu, which with their lush setting of luxuriant vegetation are among the most beautiful of the world. The falls are higher than Niagara and wider than Victoria Falls in Africa. The surrounding forests are rich in animal life.
Size: Iguazu national park (Argentina)- 55,000ha; Iguacu national park (Brazil) 180-000ha, in two parts.
Accessibility: Iguazu national park has airstrip; many visitors; Iguacu national park, by road and by air.
Volcanic activity and erosion by water and winds during millions of years have affected the region, which chiefly consists of basalts and lateritic soil. The falls of Rio Iguacu were formed by ruptures in the plateau, caused by erosion of the riverbeds.
The river Iguacu has some 18 cataracts and 275 falls, some of them reaching 80m high. Spreading along the length of four kilometers of cliffs at the cataracts, the river drops with a roar more than 80 meters, a fantastic sight and sound. Where the river turns from south to north, a multitude of rocky island forms a sort of archipelago. The volume of down pouring water varies from month to month with a maximum of 12,735 cubic meters per second.
Above and below the falls are plateaus (altitudinal) range of the two parks, 120-730m)
Subtropical and humid. (mean annual temperature 20.30C; precipitation ; 1,438mm a year.
Constantly sprayed by water from the falls, the cataract walls and Islands have luxuriant forests with many tree species, giant tree ferns, lianas, carnations, begonias, orchids, other epiphytes. Plateau forests have bamboos, cedrela, parana, araucaria, euterpepalm, green palm, imbuia, and lapachos.
Animal life in the two parks is abundant. Among the mammals; jaguar, ocelot, cougar, spectacled bear, otter, lesser grisson, coati, crab-eating raccoon, sloths, tamandua, giant anteater, capybara, south American tapir, two species of small deer; red brocket and brown wood- brocket, collared and white- lipped peccaries, black howler, douroucouli, and capuchins.
As many as 400 species have been found in the two parks. Particularly colorful are white- tailed trogon, with its gorgeous plumage, parrots, macaws, and toucans. Other species and groups of birds include tinamou, oven bird, roseate spoonbill, cocoi heron, and a multitude of passerines.
- OTHER VERTEBRATES:
Some of the reptiles; wufu, South American rattle snake, smooth- fronted caiman, and spectacled caiman. The giant marine toad occurs. Fishes are well represented in the river.
- 2. LANIN AND NAHUEL HUAPI NATIONAL PARKS(ARGENTINA);
These two contiguous parks, parques nacionales Lanin Y nahuel Huapi, are situated along the boundary with Chile. The region is an impressive Andean landscape of mountains and volcanoes, lakes and rivers, forests and animals.
Huapi national park, centered around the great lake nahuel huapi, is the largest and oldest national park in Argentina.
- Geographical location:
Western- Argentina, in the Patagonian Andes.
Lanin national park (established in 1937, 1945), 395,000ha; Nahuel Huapi national park (first measures in 1903, extended 1907, 1922); 785,000ha.
The geology of this tract of the Andes does not differ from that of the more southern Andean region.
The extinct volcano Lanin (3,776m) dominates Lanin national park, where many mountains and peaks exceed 2,000 meters. The park has 25 glacial lakes (largest are Huechula fquen and lacar) and many marshes and bogs.
Lake Nahuel Huapi (altitude 852m) is 70km long and about 9km wide. The mountains to the west of the lake culminate in the extinct volcano Tronador (3,410m)
Temperate, with high rainfall (4,000mm a year) in the west but only 300mm in the east. Most of the precipitation occurs in winter in the form of rain or snow.
Hottest month, February; Coldest; July.
Mountain slopes are covered with large forests of sub antarctic type; the dominant antarctic beeches are coihue, lenga, rauli, roble pellin, and nire. Other trees include araucaria, alerce, chilean cypress (Libocedrus chilensis), orange-barked arrayan, chusquea bamboo, chileo, and tara. Timberline is at about 1,700 meters. In the eastern parts of Nahuel Huapi national park are extensive plains with grasses such as stipa speciosa, festuca, and poa.
Both parks have vicuna, guanaco, padu, and huemul; other mammals; cougar, Kodkod (Felis guigna) , Geoffroy’s cat, otter, south American skunk(Conepatus), murine opossum, coypu, rice rat, (Oryzomys), and bats. Unfortunately red deer, wild boar, and hare have been introduced.
Bird life of the two parks includes Loons, great egret, Argentine duck, condor, gulls, cormorants, hummingbirds, and many passerines. Pheasants have been introduced.
- OTHER VERTEBRATES:
The smooth- throated lizards occurs. Four species of salmonid fishes have been introduced; salmon, trout, brook trout, and rainbow trout. Many native species of fishes representing several genera live in lakes and rivers.
- 3. LOS ALERCES NATIONAL PARK( ARGENTINA);
Establishment: 1937. Parque nacional los Alerces is in the Patagonian Andes and protects immense forests of alerce, a cypress for which it is named, in a beautiful setting of mountains and lakes with numerous rivers.
Alerce occurs in the world only in a narrow strip in the Andes. Southwest of the national park is an annex area, Annexo puelo.
Geographical location; Chubut province;
Climate: Temperate; rather high rainfall; summers relatively dry.
Accessibility: By road and by rail; Esquel (50km) a rail terminus.
The geologic past and structure of the Andes of this region is similar to that of Los Glaciares National Park. Many of the lakes are of glacial origin.
A series of communicating lakes lies at different levels. Some of these are Rivadavia (527m), Futalafquen (518m), Menendez (523m), and Cisne (548m). The lakes are surrounded by a system of mountains, of which the highest are located in cordon de las piramides, up to 2,447 meters.
Mountain forests in the national park are dominated by alerce and coihue. Other principal elements are maniu, arrayan, mayten, tique, radar, lenga, and nire.
Include pudu, huemul, cougar, Argentine gray fox, opossum, big- eared brown bat.
Bronze- winged duck, pied- billed grebe, Patagonian thrush, bicolored hawk, southern caracara.
- OTHER VERTIBRATES:
Native fishes represent such genera as percichtys, Galaxias, Patagonia, and others. Many salmonid fishes introduced; rainbow, brown, and brook trout; salmon and yellow perch.
- 4. LOS GLACIARES NATIONAL PARK (ARGENTINA);
Establishment: 1937. Parque Nacional Los Glaciares is in the Andes of south- western Argentina and offers a spectacular sub antarctic landscape of lakes, mountains and glaciers. Eternal snows cover the highest mountains; great glaciers hang on the eastern slopes of the Andes and glide down into the winding, flord like arms of the lakes.
Geographical location: South- western Argentina.
- Size: 600,000ha.
- Climate: sub-arctic
- Accessibility: difficult.
GEOLOGY AND TOPOGRAPHY:
Since the late cretaceous period about 60 million years ago, several uplifts have occurred; volcanic activities, erosion, and glaciations have much influenced the region.
The most famous glacier is Moreno Glacier, extending along a front of 4km and rising 60m high as a vertical wall of ice above one of the flords of Lago Argentina. In 1965 and again in 1966, the glacier plugged the channel draining Lago Rico into Lago Argentina, causing flooding with great avalanches of water after the ice cork was popped; such cataclysms are rather frequent in this national park.
Numerous peaks reach above 3,000 meters; the highest is cerro murallon (3,600 meters) on the Chilean border.
The mountain slopes are clothed with sub antarctic forests, chiefly of antarctic beeches such as nire, lenga, and guindo; other elements are chileo, canelo, holly barberry, and Magellan barberry.
Include pudu, huemul, guanaco, Patagonian chinchilla mouse, tuco-tuco (Ctenomys), mara, coypu, cougar, Argentine gray fox, and little armadillo.
Condor, mountain nandu, night heron, Patagonian rail, Magellan goose, black-necked swan, sparrow (Zonotrichia capensis) among others.
- OTHER VERTEBRATES;
The poisonous snouted lance head may be spotted. Fishes represented by percichtys, Galaxias, Geotria, and others.
AREA: 8,534,830 KM2
• TOUR DESTINATIONS IN BRAZIL
• 1. ITATIAIA NATIONAL PARK( BRAZIL);
Establishment: 1937. Parque national de itatiaia is in the Serra da Mantiqueira, one of the largest and highest massifs of Brazil, and is reached by a road that climbs up to 2,450 meters, the highest road in the country. Partly covered by lush tropical forests, the park affords beautiful vistas and shelters an abundant animal life.
• GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION:
Near Rio de janeiro;
• SIZE: 12,000ha.
• ACCESSIBILITY: By car.
The strange shapes of the rocks, chiefly nephaline syenites, and the “Topographic disorder” reflect past geologic processes and erosion in more recent eras.
Mount itatiaia is a vast massif with a large tableland (altiplano), many peaks, imposing crests and ridges. The altitudinal range of the national park from 750m up to Agulhas Negras, the highest peak at 2,787m. Many lakes, rivers, tarns, waterfalls, gorges and valleys intersect the slopes.
Tropical or subtropical, with rather high humidity; temperature vary with the elevation. Rainy season; October-April; driest month, August.
The lower slopes up to 1,600m are covered by secondary growths of a moist forest type; euterpe palm, quaresmeiras (Tibouchina), Jacaranda, Trumpet trees (Cecropia), cassia, and other species. Between 1,200 and 2,000m, the forests changes to dense thickets.
At 2,250m araucarias are uncommon although they begin to appear at 800m; above 2,000m is a montane steppe.
Include south American tapir, Collared peccary, white- lipped peccary, otter, crab- eating raccoon, coati, tamandua,paca, black- fronted titi, weeper capuchin, and woolly spider monkey.
The national park contains atleast 248 species of birds. Some of these are toucans, honey creepers, humming birds, tinamous (Cryptorellus absoletus and C. tataupa, trogons, jacamars, barbets, motmots, and the often observed turkey vulture.
• OTHER VERTEBRATES:
Otter turtle, jararaca, and coral snake (Micrurus corallines)
Area: 915,585 km2
• TOUR DESTINATIONS IN VENEZUELA.
• 1. HENRI PITTIER NATIONAL PARK( VENEZUELA);
Establishment; 1937. Parque Nacional Henri pittier, named after a French- Swiss naturalist, is a part of the cordillera de la costa and stretches from the caribbean sea in the north over the sierra ridge down almost to Lago de Valancia on the inland southern slope, giving great variety in vegetation and animal life.
An astonishing number of 530 species of birds has been recorded in this one park alone. Butterflies undertake spectacular seasonal migrations.
• GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION: Northern Venezuela
• SIZE: 90,000ha.
• ACCESSIBILITY: A road through the park to the Caribbean sea of Turiamo, Ocumare de la costa, Bahia de cata, Choroni.
The cordillera dela costa is a continuation of cordillera de Merida, in turn an off shoot of the Andes. Of cretaceous origin, these mountains have been continuously exposed to uplifting, erosion, and volcanic activity.
Lago de Valencia, situated in a depression with no outlet to the sea, is surrounded by alluvial plains.
A wide variety of topographical features; seashore, rivers, valleys, lakes, mountain slopes, and crests. Altitudinal range; sea level to 2,435m (height of pico ceniza).
Other high mountains Pico penon (2, 344m), La Mesa (2,300m), and La Negra (2,200m).
Tropical to temperate, depending on altitude, but varying a great deal on each side of the cordillera. Southern slopes have heavy rainfall April-October and a rather dry climate November- March; situation reversed on the northern slopes. Temperature remains at 790 F near Lago de Valencia and at 820 F on the Caribbean coast; temperatures are lower of course at higher elevations.
On the northern slope at sea level are mangroves and palms, then thorn plants like acacias and cacti with patches of fig trees; at 400-800m elevation; wooded savannas, deciduous forests with bucare and gumbo-limbo; at the next stage, 800-1000m; Rainforests with ant tree, figs, and other species covered with lianas and creepers; at 1,000-2,000m; subtropical forests with nino and an abundance of ferns, orchids, and bromeliads; Above 2,000m grow sub-tropical forests. On the southern slope, from 2,400m down to about 1,000m, the floral zonation is similar to that of the northern slope. But from 1,600m downward, patches of grasslands occur; the rainforest of the northern slope is replaced by woodlands and secondary savannas.
Farther down, macchia vegetation dominates.
Among many others, mammals in the national park include collared peccary, brocket, coati, raccoon, crab- eating fox, jaguar, jaguarundi, cougar, tayra, bats, agouti, paca, squirrel (Sciurus grisogena), cotton tail, Three- toed sloth, red howler, and brown capuchin.
530 Bird species has been recorded, among them are 30 species of humming birds. Other birds include barn owl, crested guan, red- cheeked parakeet, toucans, hoccos, tinamuous, manakins, tangaras, contingas, and 58 species of flycatchers. Royal terns fly along the sea shore. A large number of migratory birds winter in the reserve or pass through as transients.
The fer—de- lance and the bushmaster snakes are common.
• AREA: 402,302 KM2
• TOUR DESTINATIONS IN ECUADOR
• 1. GALAPAGOS ISLANDS NATIONAL PARK(ECUADOR);
Establishment: 1935. The Galapagos group of 13 major islands lie in the pacific ocean about 1,000 km west of the coast of Ecuador, an isolated archipelago with a very high number of endemic plants and animals. Animal life also constitutes the chief attraction for visitors - the famous Darwin finches, the giant tortoises, and the marine iguanas are only some of the spectacular aspects of the living peculiarities of the Galapagos.
• SIZE: 10,000ha (protected area to be extended on a few un inhabited islands.)
Weekly boat service regularly from Guayaquil, visits also possible by chartered boat; monthly air flights (Tame Airlines) regularly from Quito and Guayaquil; chartered tours also available.
Of volcanic origin, the islands are the tops of enormous volcanoes rising 2,130-3050m above the floor of the sea. Recent flows of sterile, undecomposed lava surround bare and split basalt rocks, many crater holes, cracks and fissures, thousands of strangely sculptured lava blocks.
Presumably the islands rose from the sea in Tertiary times (about 3 million years ago) but the exact age of the Galapagos isles cannot be stated. Most of what is today exposed of the islands was built mainly during Pleistocene and recent times. At present Fernandina (Narborough), Isabela, and Santiago display volcanic activity; during the past 160 years, eruptions have also taken place on pinta (Abingdon), Marchena (Bindloe), and Floreana. The Galapagos Islands are gigantic shield volcanoes composed almost exclusively of basalt.
Cracked lava dominates the islands- many of the rocks around the shores have been sculptured directly by the sea-but there are also some sandy beaches consisting of coral shell particles.
The elevation of the strict nature reserve at Santa Cruz Island ranges from sea level to only about 180m. (Santa Cruz island is 864m high). The highest points of the archipelago are on Isabela, where wolf volcano is 1,700m and Cerro Azul, 1688meters. Fernandina is the second highest Island at 1,494m. Alcedo crater on the same island is about 300m deep; it contains a boiling lake that erupts every few seconds, shooting 25-meter jets of water into the air. Fernandina has a caldera, more than 820 meters deep.
Beyond and parallel to the rims of the calderas of these islands are arcuate fissures and lines of cinder cones and spatter cones. From some of them long flows of older and younger lava have descended down to the sea.
Tropical but dry, particularly at the lower elevations. At higher levels the climate is moist. For an area near the equator, the sea water around the Galapagos isles is abnormally cold. Two warm ocean currents and one cold (Humboldt Current) meet at the islands without mixing.
About 40 percent of the plants of the Galapagos do not occur elsewhere. Vegetation varies greatly with elevation. Though a few red mangroves fringe some lagoons and beaches, most of the coastal belt is almost barren and resembles a lunar landscape. Occasional cacti are conspicuous plants on the lower lava beds; near the research station at Bahia Academy on Santa Cruz there is a cactus forest of Jasminocerus howellii and Opuntia echios. Spring shrubs and dwarf deciduous trees of castela prosopis and Acacia are locally common, also porotillo, matasarno, and chala.
On Isabela open woodlands appear at about 330m. Crests of the higher crater rims are largely covered with thick vegetation. On the slopes, kept moist by clouds, are forests of tree composites, mainly of scalesia pedunculata, guava, unagata, and pega- pega. Ferns grow in profusion beside orchids, mosses, and Lichens.
The strange animals of Galapagos are first encountered on the shores, where two species of sea lions, California sea lion and fur seal, have some colonies (both mammals are represented by local races). Other wild animals are rats and two species of bats (Lasiurus cinereus and L. brachyotis). Unfortunately a large number of introduced goats, cattle, pigs, dogs, cats, and rats exist on several islands, where they are ruining not only the vegetation but also provea menace to the fauna.
Of 89 breeding species of birds, as many as 77 are endemic. Birds at the coast; Galapagos penguin, flightless cormorant, waved albatross, which breeds only on Espanola (Hood), Audubon’s shearwater, Hawaiian petrel, magnificent frigate bird, great frigate bird, red footed booby, blue- footed booby, blue- faced booby, swallow- tailed gull, and dusky gull. During the northern winter large flocks of red and northern phalaropes from Arctic tundras lie off shore. Among land birds are 13 species of Darwin’s finches, four species of mocking birds, two general of flycatchers, Galapagos doves, two owls (Asio galapagoensis and strix puntafissiama), Galapagos hawk, Azara’s cuckoo, and yellow warbler. A species of fresh waterduck is also endemic; the Galapagos pintail. Small numbers of American flamingo breed on Santiago, Isabela, and Floreana islands.
Ten of the 15 subspecies of giant Galapagos tortoises are isolated on as many separate islands. The species has had a dramatic history, and man has exterminated several races since their discovery 300 years ago.
• OTHER FAUNA:
Other reptiles are seven species of lava lizards, all of which live on separate islands; geckoes, the famous land iguanas; a marine iguana, and a snake (Dromicus). No amphibians occur. Four species of fishes have been collected from freshwater pools on Santa Cruz; two are freshwater fishes( Electris pictus and Philypus maculatus), two are marine, Known to enter freshwater (Gerres cinereus and Bathygobius lineatus). The relatively cold waters around the Galapagos are rich in plankton, the basis of a long food chain consisting of many species of fishes. Crustaceans are common; and a sea snake (pelamydrus platurus) has been observed.
• Area: 744,630 km2
• TOUR DESTINATIONS IN CHILE:
• 1. JUAN FERNANDEZ NATIONAL PARK( CHILE);
Establishment: 1935. South of the Capricorn and miles from the Chilean coast lie the Juan Fernandez Islands, of which three- Mas a Tierra, M'as Afuera, and Santa Clara- form the Parque Nacional de Turismo “Isla Juan Fernandez”
The fame of M'as a Tierra as the island of Robinson Crusoe adds to the tourist attraction of the national park. ( The Scottish sailor Alexander Selkirk went ashore on the Juan Fernandez Islands in 1704 to stay for almost four and half years-an event that later inspired Daniel Defoe to write his well- known book.) The islands with their mountains, valleys, and oceanic shores are scenically very attractive and also of extreme scientific value because of their unique flora.
• GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION:
667 Km W of Chile.
• SIZE: 18,300 ha.
ACCESSIBILITY: By boat, flights from Valparaiso.
Never connected with the continent, the Juan Fernandez islands are of volcanic origin (at present no signs of volcanic activity), consisting of hundreds of layers of lava flows.
All of the islands are the crests of a great sub- oceanic mountain, whose base stands about 2,000 fathoms deep on the ocean floor. Erosion has planed out these mountain summits into table lands, carving canyons in the lava beds. M'as a Tierra reaches 915m, and Santa Clara, 373 meters.
The islands, favored by a warm water current, have a mild and humid- subtropical climate very coast. Rains fall mainly in the winter, but there is no real dry season. Frost does not occur.
As with the Galapagos isles, Isolation has given evolution in the Juan Fernandez Islands another course than it took on the continents. Moreover, the location of Juan Fernandez makes this national park important as a dispersal stepping- stone for flora elements of Antarctic, South Seas, Australian, and South American origin.
The flora consists to a very high degree of endemic genera and species. Only 200 spontaneously occurring plant species are known, but 120 do not exist elsewhere. The forests, relics from a more humid postglacial period, are chiefly formed by about half a dozen species, among which are canelo, the tall Facara mayu, growing to over 18meters, and Myrceugenia fernandeziana. The endemic sandal wood tree has been exterminated and the endemic Juan palm has seriously declined.
Tree ferns and other ferns are abundant, and there are also many epiphytes; mosses, and liverworts. Where the forests have been destroyed or were unable to collonize the lava soil, grassy heaths and bushes prevail (on all lower parts of M'as Tierra).
The introduced shrubs like blackberry and Chilean “Maqui” have conquered large areas with detrimental effects on the natural vegetation. The only undisturbed indigenous forest now remaining is on the summit of El Yungue, the highest point of M'as a Tierra.
Introduced animals unfortunately dominate animal life; Coati mundi, a raccoon like predator, has been introduced and is a menace to indigenous birds. The only mammal of the Islands, the Juan Fernandez fur seal that numbered millions in 1683, was almost wiped out in 200 years. In 1968 at least 30 seals were rediscovered at M'as a Tierra.
There are 15 native birds, nine of them endemic, some restricted to M'as a Tierra. Marine birds visit the islands, but only eight species of land birds exist.
No reptiles live on the islands. Marine fishes and crustaceans were once rich in species and in number around the shores of the national park, but these resources have been heavily over exploited.
Area: 109,309 km2
TOUR DESTINATIONS IN GUATEMALA
1. ATITLAN NATIONAL PARK( GUATEMALA);
Establishment: 1955: Parque Nacional Atitlan in the department of sololi in South- Western Guatemala is one of the most beautiful lake areas in America. The center of the park is Lake Atitlan, surrounded by forests, grasslands and volcanoes, and with many Indian villages on its shores. The lake is inhabited by an extremely rare giant grebe, which does not occur elsewhere in the world.
ACCESSIBILITY: By air and by road.
GEOLOGY AND TOPOGRAPHY:
Volcanic action shaped the whole region; extinct and active volcanoes tower above the lake, which is 25km long, 19km wide, about 400m deep, and lies at an elevation of 1,562 meters.
Highest volcanoes are Atitlan (3, 153m), San Pedro (3,024m), and Santa Clara (2,117m)
Forests covering volcanic slopes are made up of oak, cypress, and pine with mosses and lichens, and there are also grasslands within the park. Growing in the lake are bulrush and cattail.
In the reserve include squirrel (Sciurus deppei), eastern cotton tail, and white- tailed deer.
The park's most famous creature is the Atitlan grebe, whose population consists of about 130 birds, the only one in the world and restricted to this lake. Other birds in the park are shoveler, pintail, ruddy duck, American coot, and the South American ring- necked plover.
• Area: 144,040 km2
• TOUR DESTINATIONS IN SURINAM;
• 1. WIAWIA RESERVE( SURINAM)
Establishment: 1966. This reserve, between the estuaries of the Surinam and Marowijne Rivers, protects wetlands of vast areas of water, marshes, and sandbanks with an interesting wildlife.
On the coast, east of parama ribo.
• SIZE: 36,000ha.
• GEOLOGY AND TOPOGRAPHY:
The coastal area of wiawia is an alluvial plain formed by river sedimentation, by the sea, and by the winds. Ridges built up from sand form bars parallel to the coastline often several Kilometers long, relatively narrow, and rising only a few meters above their surroundings. These mark the former coastline. Numerous swamps of clayey soil, often topped with peat, are small or extend for several Kilometers; part of the year they are covered with water. Saline, brackish, and fresh expanses of water neighbor the coastal strip of mangroves. Much of the seashore consists of inaccessible mud.
Surinam, very close to the equator, has a tropical climate with high temperature throughout the year. Hottest month; October (27.30C); wettest months; May and June; driest; October and November. Long rainy season; April 15- August 15; short rainy season; November 15; short rainy season; November-15 - February 15; short dry season; February- April 15 (the seasons are not strictly delimited, however). The area lies completely outside that of the west Indian cyclones.
Vegetation features; inundated forests and mangroves. The black mangrove colonizes sediments above the mean high- water mark. Beach plants like morning- glory and Jackbean get root hold on sandbars close to the sea. Further land, swamp forests and brushwood occupy brackish and fresh- water swamps; some of the older forested sandbars have cacti growing to over ten meters tall.
Occur in high numbers and with many species, some nesting, others feeding or resting; many migratory birds pass through or winter in the area. The scarlet ibis has a colony and the American flamingo visits the area. Thousands of waders and other birds search for food on the mudbanks and in the shallow coastal, and more inland areas.
Five species of sea turtles lay their eggs on the beaches of the reserve- olive ridley, leather back, green turtle, hawksbill turtle, and Logger head. Many scientists visit to observe turtles here and at Eilanti beach, Surinam.
• AREA: 215,800 KM2
• TOUR DESTINATIONS IN GUYANA
• 1. KAIETEUR NATIONAL PARK( GUYANA);
Establishment: 1929: This national park is an area of primeval rainforests; it is bisected by the potaro river and contains the spectacular Kaieteur Falls, 228m high, chief tourist attraction of the reserve. Plant and animal life are also of interest.
• GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION:
About 216km inland from George Town.
• SIZE: 11,250ha.
• ACCESSIBILITY: By air direct; or by plane, launch, and on foot; or by river steamer, land rover, launch, and on foot.
• GEOLOGY AND TOPOGRAPHY:
Above the falls, the potaro river meanders on a platform of sandstone and Conglomerates (Roraima sandstone formation) until it reaches the edge of vertical cliffs and drops over to form one of the highest waterfalls of the world. A gorge has been formed below the Kaieteur Falls. Other rivers in the park are the mure mure and the Elinku. Elevation range of the national park: 120-370 meters:
Tropical, with a high humidity and mean temperature of 790-820F. Rainy season; December- end of August; showers also occur even during the supposedly dry months of September and October. Conditions are suitable for visiting throughout the years.
Vegetation of the national park is varied; a rain forest in the gorge, a dry evergreen forest on the slopes, sandy soils along the falls, and savanna on the plateau above the falls.
Living in and around the national park are various monkeys; Sakis, howlers, capuchins, the squirrel monkey and the spider monkey. The wealth of other mammals includes giant anteater, tamandua, dwarf anteater, sloth, armadillo, ocelot, margay, tiger cat, Jaguar, otter, coati, Kinkajou, Tayra, Grison, opossum, bracket, south American tapir, peccaries, tree porcupine, capybara, paca, agouti, acouchi, and spiny rat, and bats.
Toucans, parrots, macaws, trumpeters, anhingas, eagles, hawks, falcons, caracaras, hoccos, tinamous, curassows, chachalacas, guans, owls, swifts, trogons, Kingfishers, woodpeckers, manakins, flycatchers, tanagers, orioles, and a number of finches.
- Area: 11,450
TOUR DESTINATIONS IN BAHAMAS
- 1. GREAT INAGUA NATURE RESERVE(BAHAMAS);
Establishment: 1966. With seven endemic races of birds, the isolated Island shelters three fourths of the population of the American flamingo, whose red flocks are a spectacular part of the reserve. Included within the boundaries of the reserve are their nesting sites and feeding grounds as well as oceanic shores and shallows with coral reefs and cliffs.
- GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION: Great Inagua Island (distance from Cuba, 80 km.)
- Size: 74,300ha
- Climate: Tropical, with pronounced dry and wet seasons.
- Accessibility: difficult
- GEOLOGY AND TOPOGRAPHY;
The Bahamas, remnant of a Cretaceous volcanic area, do not seem to have been connected with any landmass. Great Inagua is geologically a young island, a large part having recently emerged from the sea through uplift. The reserve is dominated by a very shallow salt lake (in size 16 by 32km), dotted with hundreds of islands. The surrounding windblown flats are almost devoid of vegetation. In the wet season the bed of the salt lake fills with water, flooding the desert like landscape and turning it into an almost impenetrable muddy marsh. Other parts of the reserve have sandy beaches, cliffs, and some ponds. Spectacular coral reefs lie outside the reserve. Highest elevation; 40m;
Around the salt lake only plants with a high salinity tolerance can live; grassy palmetto studded savanna, Thorn- scrubs, and two species of mangrove trees, chiefly white mangrove and button mangrove. There are areas of jungle like bush; palms and sea grape fringe the ocean shores; heathlands and grassy prairies cover the coastal cliffs.
Feral donkeys and pigs have occupied the bush and at least two species of bats occur.
The American flamingo is the most famous creature of the Islands. Many other birds are found in and around the salt lake; a large colony of reddish egret; also snowy egret, common (American) egret, herons (great blue, Louisiana, little blue, green, black- crowned night, yellow- crowned- night), roseate spoonbill, olivaceous cormorant, brown pelican, west Indian tree duck, Bahamas pintail, gull-billed tern, Bahama pintail, gull- billed tern, and yellow warbler. Many migrating waders winter or rest in the area; gray plover and northern ring-necked plover, for example. Marshes, fields, bushes, and woods are full of migrating passerine birds and birds of prey, including merlin. Among the resident birds are Bahamian parrot, barn owl, giant king bird, Bahamian mocking parrot, banana quit, white- winged dove, white- crowned pigeon, and along the coast nesting roseate tern, white tailed tropic bird.
- OTHER VERTEBRATES:
Reptiles include six lizards and one snake, of which two species, and two subspecies are endemic most beautiful lizard; Ameiva maynardii, a race runner, black with bright yellow dorsal stripes and ulframarine below. An endemic fresh water turtle (pseudenyms terrapen malonei) lives in a nearby freshwater pond. Amphibians are absent. The gorgeous coral reefs are rich in fish life.
- Area: 8,931 km2
TOUR DESTINATIONS IN PUERTO RICO
- 1. LUQUILLO EXPERIMENTAL FOREST( PUERTO RICO);
Bosque Nacional de Luquillo, located on the slopes of El Yunque (1,064m), is a relic, illustrating Puerto Rico's extensive montane rainforests as they existed at the time of the arrival of the Europeans.
- GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION: Eastern Puerto Rico.
- SIZE: 11,340ha.
- GEOLOGY AND TOPOGRAPHY;
The sierra de Luquillo, of Tertiary origin, are chiefly of limestone; the slopes are intersected by numerous rivers cascading in gorges.
Tropical-temperate; average rainfall about 4,500mm.
These luxuriant primeval rainforests have about 170 species of trees- at elevations of 150-600m the most magnificent in Puerto Rico. But at lower levels the rainforests are modified or have disappeared. Tree ferns, ocotea, and bullet wood dominate the lower slopes; tree ferns grow nine meters high and orchids bloom in profusion. In the upper forests the sierra palm is the most prominent tree; near the peak of El Yunque grows caobilla, Puerto Rico’s only arborescent gymnosperm. Above 750m, dwarfed species include palo bobo and oreganillo.
Most famous inhabitant is the Puerto Rican parrot, which exists nowhere else in the world. Other endemic Puerto Rican birds; Puerto Rican bullfinch, the Puerto Rican tody; the Puerto Rican tanager, and the Puerto Rico plain pigeon.