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Tambopata National Reserve
Bahuaja – Sonene National Park

The Tambopata region of the southwestern Amazon Basin and nearby Andes comprises the lowlands south of the Madre de Dios River along the border of Peru and Bolivia. The north-south Heath River defines the borders of Peru and Bolivia.

Prior to 1996 this region was known as the Tambopata-Candamo Reserve and included an area called the Pampas del Heath Sanctuary. The Pampas Sanctuary extended across the Heath River into Bolivia.

After the 1995 establishment by the Bolivian Government of the Madidi National Park located along the east bank of the Heath River, the Peruvian government established the Bahuaja-Sonene National Park, incorporating both the Peruvian and Bolivian portions of the Pampas del Heath Sanctuary. Located across the border from Madidi this created one of the world's largest bi-national parks, 2.7 million acres. The region in which this park is located holds several world records in the cataloging of flora and fauna species.

The western side of the Bahuaja-Sonene National Park became an adjoining 627,380-acre Tambopata National Reserve, as well as a 647,000-acre buffer zone.


Bahuaja-Sonene National Park Map Top of Page

Bahuaja-Sonene is located within the Vilcabamba-Amboró biodiversity corridor and adjacent to Madidi National Park, part of a contiguous region of 7.4 million acres of rich tropical habitat that is among the most biologically diverse on Earth. As many as 550 bird species and 1,200 butterfly species have been recorded in a single locality.

Ecological Significance
The park protects a great variety of plants, birds, mammals, herptiles, insects, and fish, including many rare and endangered forms. Many species found within the confines of the park are endemic to Peru, among them two species of parrots and at least 28 newly registered butterflies. Notable fauna include Marsh Deer (Blastocerus dichotomus), Maned Wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus), Harpy Eagle (Harpia harpyja), Giant Anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla), Anaconda (Eunectes murinus), Giant Armadillo (Priodontes maximus), Giant Otter (Pteroneura brasiliensis), Jaguar (Panthera onca), and a variety of species of monkeys. In 1992, an icthyological research team discovered 93 species of fish within six different bodies of water, just within the lower pampas region of the park. Prominent conservation targets include the above species as well as the pampas region of the park and selected upland micro-watersheds.

    Internationally famous as the site of the world's greatest lowland concentrations of birds and butterflies, Tambopata offers an exciting and unique Amazon experience. Of interest two of the most important ecological areas of Tambopata are Sandoval Lake, located within the Bahuaja-Sonene National Park, a short distance from the Madre de Dios River, and the Esa Eja Heath area, home of the Esa Eja Sonene Indians located on the Peruvian side of the Heath River. (Ese Eja is also spelled as: Esa Eja, Esa'Eja, and Ese'Eja)

Sandoval Lake Tambopata Bahuaja-Sonene Top of Page

Sandoval Lake Tambopata Sandoval Lake
is an "oxbow lake" formed generations ago by the shifting waters of the Madre de Dios River. Once a river changes course, a length of the river, usually in a horse-shoe shape, is left land-locked. Sandoval with its clear, calm waters has evolved into a mature lake environment attacking myriad species of wildlife and flora. Sandoval is home to the endangered Giant Otter and a great number of plants and animals.

Sandoval: part of a pristine Wilderness of Amazonia situated just beyond the eastern slopes of the Andes Mountains that is home to almost 1000 species of birds, and 4 of the Amazon Basin's top predators the Jaguar, Giant Otter, Harpy Eagle and Black Caiman. Blue-and-gold and Red-bellied Macaws inhabit the flooded palm forest on the west end of Sandoval Lake. Brown Capuchin, Bolivian Squirrel, Red Howler, Saddle-backed Tamarin, and Night monkeys live in the forests surrounding the lake.

Sandoval Lake bird watching

   Related Info...Sandoval Lake Lodge

the Ese Eja Heath Native / Indigenous Community Top of Page

The Heath River, running from the Andes surrounding Lake Titikaka northward to the Madre de Dios River, is the natural border between Peru and Bolivia.

Here the Esa Eja Sonene Community of indigenous Indians live, an ethnic group belonging to either of two lines: the Tacana-speaking Arawak, who migrated from the west, and those of Pano origin, who come from the lower reaches of the Madera River.

Although the native/indigenous population in the Bahuaja-Sonene National Park and adjacent Bolivian areas numbers 8,531; of whom 34.5% live in Peru and 65.5% in Bolivia, approximately 140 individuals comprise the Esa Eja Sonene Community on the Heath River. In their primitive condition they subsisted, and still do in large part, by agriculture, hunting, and fishing, went naked except for feather decorations on dance occasions, and lived in small communities subject to petty chiefs. Some of their tribes were reputed cannibals. The civilized Tacana wear as their principal garment a sleeveless shirt or chemise, keeping the head and feet bare. They are expert at weaving and the making of straw hats, but are not industrious beyond their immediate needs.

Surrounding the Esa Eja Sonene Community the Bahuaja-Sonene National Park has become the focus of international efforts to provide the indigenous Indians title to their lands, opportunities for sustainable tourist development, and conservation education for the protection of their pristine environment.

Currently the Esa Eja Community is building a eco-conservation lodge that will be used as a scientific research station and tourist facility on the Heath River. A short distance from the community is one of the most important Macaw Clay Licks of Peru, a natural attraction visited by thousands of parrots and Macaws.
   Related Info...Ese Eja Heath River Lodge

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Esa Eja Indian Lodge
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