YASUNI NATIONAL PARK
The Yasuni National Park is Ecuador’s largest protected area, just over one million hectares in size. It is part of the Yasuni Biosphere Reserve, an area about twice the size of the National Park which includes the Waorani territory and the “intangible zone” which is the home of the Tagaeri-Taromenane people, two related groups who still live in isolation in the jungle hunting and foraging and who have resisted contact from the outside world. Recognized by UNESCO as a World Biosphere Reserve for its remarkable, unique ecosystem and biodiversity, the Yasuni Biosphere Reserve is home to an amazing variety of species with world records for the diversity of amphibian, reptile, bat and tree species, placing the region among the most biodiverse places on Earth.
In Yasuni National Park, over 1400 distinct animal species have been identified, including about 140 species of amphibians, a world record for a single area; in the entire North American continent there are only about 99 identified amphibians. Just over 600 species of birds call the park home, one third of all the known species in the entire Amazon region, plus 204 mammal species including 12 different monkey species. One hectare can be home to 100,000 species of insects, equal to the known species on the entire North American continent; 50 hectares can contain up to 1,300 distinct plant species.
The northern border of the park is the Napo River, one of the largest in the Ecuadorian Amazon, a major transportation corridor and the zone of most visitor lodges in the Yasuni region. Mandari Panga is situated further south, along the Tiputini river in a region where humans have seldom entered, and probably the most pristine area of the park that tourists can access.