The Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve of Peru
The reflection of hundreds of snow-white Great Egrets flashes off of the black-glass lake. Large flights of ducks take wing amongst the Egrets. Not far from the boat pink Dolphins surface briefly. Kingfishers skim along the shore line in search of something to eat. In the distance, pairs of macaws call out with their distinctive “screech”… Birds of all sizes and colors flit through the air…This is the “Espejo de la Selva” - “The mirror of the jungle” - the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve of Peru is considered one of the most important areas of biodiversity in the world. The largest reserve in the country encompasses 2,080,000 hectares (5,139,680 acres) between the Marañon and Ucayali rivers. This protected area contains 85 lakes which are home of 250 species of fish as well as both pink and gray fresh- water dolphins. In the jungle and flooded forest of the reserve 132 mammal species (13 of which are primates), 449 bird species and 250 reptile and amphibian species have been documented.

The area originally set aside in 1940 became a national reserve in 1972. A number of ranger stations were set up to enforce reserve laws and monitor wildlife. The objectives of the reserve are to foster research and protection for all species of wildlife, foster socio-economic help for the local people and utilization of resources and tourism. Tourism plays an important role in that it brings in funds through an entrance fee that helps support the various programs and promotes awareness of the wildlife and plant resources within the reserve and the need for its continued protection. The Pacaya-Samiria National reserve is a good place to see pink Dolphins, a huge birds, like Cormorants, King Fishers, White Egrets, Toucans and Macaws, as well as go fishing for some piranhas and other fish species. In this area, not only the fauna and flora, or the beatiful landscapes constitue focuses of interest. Qithin the environs of the park dwell populations gathered in more than 30 rural communities. There are also groups of native Amazonian.

The reserve is home to, and protects, almost all those species native to low-lying jungle that are threatened with extinction, including the Spider monkey, the giant nutria, and Manati, as well as the Harpy Eagle.

The large number of lakes, creeks and swamps, the unique untouched scenery, the exuberant forest and the rich wildlife make the reserve an attractive destination for ecological tourism, scientific expeditions, exploration and adventure cruises.

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