This enviable title has been awarded to Manu National Park in Peru, now believed to contain the greatest variety of terrestrial species on Earth. Following exhaustive research conducted across 16 of the most biodiverse places in the world, using 60 camera traps, Manu’s pristine mosaic of 14 different ecosystems came out on top. The study was carried out by the Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring [TEAM] Network, utilising systematic field station data collection procedures honed over many years to ensure the utmost veracity. Their work serves to identify trends in species diversity, which can then inform and shape conservation strategy.
A recent expedition to the high altitude tropical forest of the mountainous Cerros del Sira region of Peru has recorded the first moving images of the mysterious Sira Currasow. It’s believed to be confined exclusively to this isolated area, and was not first described by science until 1969. Incredibly, three decades passed before it was observed in the wild again and it’s thought that just one photograph existed prior to these recordings being obtained. The research team, led by biologists from Glasgow University and Exeter University, estimate that only around 250 mature adult birds remain alive; primarily due to habitat destruction and hunting for their sought after meat.
Scientists made the discovery deep within the Andean cloud forests of Ecuador and Peru; an area that remains under-explored. The trio of creatures new to science belong to the group commonly known as Wood Lizards. Following observations that they contained different colourations and scale design to known species, DNA tests confirmed each was a new addition to this family of reptile – the majority of which have only been identified in recent years.
The ground-breaking IUCN conference held in Sydney, Australia, only takes place once a decade and is one of only a few opportunities the international community get to reach a forward-thinking consensus on key National Park conservation issues. It serves to promote the importance of conserving protected land and sea areas sustainably and finds solutions that benefit each country’s ecosystems and wildlife; yet in a way that helps the nation’s people and economy. Over 6000 delegates from 170 countries have contributed to shaping new policies and pledges that will hopefully ensure our most valuable and bio-diverse regions of the world are protected for the future.
The extraordinary discovery was made in the shadows of one of the wonders of the Incan world, Machu Picchu, following a field study of the area beginning in 2012. A team of Peruvian and Mexican experts recently found a live specimen of the arboreal chinchilla rat, which hitherto had only been identified from two 500 year-old skulls found in Incan pottery. No previous expedition had found any trace of their existence. Over the last two years, six new species have been uncovered in and around the cloud forests of Machu Picchu, including an aquatic rodent, a lizard and four new types of frog. However, they are still to be officially classed as new to science.