Beni Biosphere Reserve


Beni, a U.N. Biosphere Reserve in the northern lowlands, was established in a debt-for-nature swap to protect 1,290 square miles (3,340 km2) of this area’s fast-disappearing scrub and forest habitat which is home to 53 percent of the country’s birds and 50 percent of its mammals, including monkeys, jaguars, otters, foxes, anteaters, deer, and bats. Conservation International was able also to set aside the adjoining 4,440-square-mile (11,500-km2) Chimane Forest Reserve for limited sustainable development by local indigenous populations. At least 500 tropical bird species and 100 mammals are here, readily visible in this largely flat terrain. Entry station is on the main La Paz–Trinidad Road at Porvenir, where guides, horses, and camping trips can be arranged to pristine northern forests (best times June–July). A popular two-hour walk is Laguna Normandia with hundreds of rare black caimans, survivors of a bankrupt leather business and airlifted here. Trips also can be arranged through Academia Nacional de Ciencias de Bolivia, Av. 16 de Julio 1732, Casilla 5829, La Paz, Tel/Fax: (+591) 2-350612, E-mail: cmiranda@ebb.rds.org.bo.


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