Five endangered animals found in Peru
“Conservation is a state of harmony between men and land,” penned American environmentalist Aldo Leopold in 1948. In Peru, one of the world’s 12 megadiverse countries, this insight is borne out by the lasting love affair between Pacha Mama (Mother Earth) and the first Peruvians, who, as a sign of their gratitude, made a number of animals and other elements of nature into deities.
It should be noted that as one of the world’s most biodiverse countries, Peru holds more than 70% of the Earth’s species within its borders. Its flora and fauna is considered among the most varied on the planet. The country boasts 11 ecoregions, including cold ocean, tropical ocean, coastal desert, equatorial dry forest, Pacific tropical forest, hilly steppe, dry highland plateau (puna), moist highland plateau (páramo), montane rainforest (highland jungle), tropical Amazon rainforest (lowland jungle) and palm savanna. These varied landscapes give rise to the endless variety of species living in the country. In 2015 alone, 71 plant species, 33 species of terrestrial fauna, 6 types of freshwater fish, as well as saltwater fish, insects, and others were discovered. These new species take their place alongside well-known endemic species such as the vicuña, the north Andean deer (taruca), the cock-of-the-rock and the immense variety of fish in the Peruvian seas, rivers and lakes. Some of the most important species of endemic plants– vegetation that grows by itself naturally, without any human intervention– are the natural grasslands in the Andes, the forests of the Amazon and the vegetation of the coastal hills.
All these elements have converged in Peru to give life to one of the most populated habitats on Earth and, therefore, to one of the places where the highest percentage of endangered animals live. Here are some species that may disappear over the coming years.
Peru is the country that is home to the largest population of spectacled bears in the entire continent, with nearly six thousand scattered around the different regions of the country. It should be noted that this bear is one of the eight species that exist in the world and it only lives in the Andean-Amazon region. In Peru, the spectacled bear can be found in various types of ecosystems located between 1,600 feet and 14,700 feet above sea level. However, these fascinating animals prefer the rainforests of the High Jungle and the Páramo, where there is a lot of rainfall.
Spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus)
The white-winged guan
This Peruvian bird was not seen for almost a century and was thought extinct. However, in 1977 it reappeared, showing off its slender and elegant figure, characterized by its black plumage with green reflections on the back and its long tail. Other features of this bird include its bare throat, bluish-gray beak and pink legs. The white-winged guan usually inhabits the northern Peruvian coast, specifically in the dry forests.
white-winged guan (Penelope albipennis)
The yellow tailed woolly monkey
This species that is endemic to the Peruvian Andes has fewer than 250 specimens in the wild. They can be seen to a greater extent in the department of San Martín (in northeastern Peru), where the Abiseo River National Park has become their main home. Although not many know it, this species is more Peruvian than the condor itself, which can also be found in other South American countries. Only just over three feet tall, one of the gentle woolly monkey’s most striking distinguishing features is its long, 35-inch tail, and the eye-catching yellow tuft at the end of its tail also stands out. This monkey can only be observed in Peru, where it was discovered 200 years ago by the German humanist Alexander Von Humboldt.
Until recently, this bird was only known in a small forest near Chiclayo, in northern Peru. They are found in an area characterized by the presence of oil centers, for this reason, and because residents have not been allowed to populate these areas, the Peruvian plantcutter still exists and its dry forest habitat is maintained. This is due to the fact that for many years the oil companies did not allow people to enter the concessions and have unwittingly saved a species from extinction.