Identidad Madidi: Exploring the Fantastic Biodiversity of Bolivia

For the 18-month Identidad Madidi expedition, a group of Bolivian scientists will investigate fourteen different habitats spanning 6,000 meters – from the Andes down to the Amazon – in what is the most biodiverse protected area on the planet. Photo by Rob Wallace ©WCS.

By Rob Wallace

[Note: this is the first in a series of reports from WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) on the Identidad Madidi expedition currently taking place in Bolivia's Madidi National Park]

It’s an idea that was four years in the making: to send a group of Bolivian scientists to investigate fourteen different habitats spanning 6,000 meters – from the Andes down to the Amazon – in what is the most biodiverse protected area on the planet. Identidad Madidi, expected to take a year and a half to complete, is a scientific expedition intended to draw attention to the wonders of Boliva’s Madidi National Park.

For the 18-month Identidad Madidi expedition, a group of Bolivian scientists will investigate fourteen different habitats spanning 6,000 meters – from the Andes down to the Amazon – in what is the most biodiverse protected area on the planet. Photo by Rob Wallace ©WCS.

From a biodiversity perspective Madidi is quite simply nirvana. At close to two million hectares in size it is also a global stronghold for many of Latin America´s most charismatic wildlife, including Andean condor, Andean bear, jaguar, white-lipped peccary, and lowland tapir. There you will also find several unique major vegetation types.

The Madidi trip is the culmination of an even longer journey for me and my colleague Lilian Painter in our work for WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society).

This southern climbing mouse (Rhipidomys cf. austrinus) is one of 32 vertebrate species newly discovered in Madidi National Park so far during the Identidad Madidi expedition. Photo by Mileniusz Spanowicz ©WCS.

In 1999, after working for seven years in Noel Kempff Mercado National Park (one of Bolivia´s 22 national protected areas), Lilian and I were asked to move to a new protected area and broader landscape in Bolivia. It was tough to —> Read More

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