Latin America

Wildlife Diversity

1,331

3,000

430

176

2,700

The figures given for the wildlife categories above are estimated.

We’ve included a vast area covering South America, Central America, the Galapagos and Antarctica under this section.

Many fascinating and unusual wildlife species hail from the Latin American region.  The highest number of endemic species live in this region of the world. The animal life is precious and varied due to the extensive range of habitats.

Impressive wildlife species include the Jaguar, Sloth, Guanaco, Capybara, Giant Anteater, Piraiba Catfish, Toco Toucan, Scarlet Macaw, Tamarin, Capuchin, Tapir, Maned Wolf, Giant Otter, Eyelash Viper and Anaconda to name a few.

There is a rich array of butterflies, not to mention seven types of penguins, plus, plus, plus.

So many species of spectacular wildlife live in this vast region; it’s ambitious to summarise into a few short paragraphs!

Freshwater fish are numerous, including the infamous flesh-eating piranha. This toothy fish is related to the tigerfish, which inhabits some of the African rivers. A rare aquatic is the Inia – a primitive river dolphin.

There are some 3000 species of birds (and a few still to be discovered), which far exceeds the numbers found in Africa and India.

  • The Rhea – large, flightless bird similar to an ostrich
  • Over 120 species of hummingbirds
  • Andean condor in the high Andes

The two most incredibly diverse wildlife hot spots have to be the Amazon and the Pantanal and should be on your hit list. The Galapagos should feature in any wildlife lovers plans.

Patagonia is a hugely exciting region in itself and is also the departure point for Antarctica far to the south from Ushuaia. Of human interest is Machu Pichu, ancient Inca ruins lying on top of two fault lines in the Andes.

Galapagos

The Galapagos inspired Charles Darwin to develop the ‘theory of evolution’ when he visited in 1835. Since then, the volcanic archipelago belonging to Ecuador has become one of the leading wildlife viewing destinations.

Amazon

This incredible ecosystem nurtures the largest rainforest on earth. Rated the greatest flowing river in the world, it doesn’t have a single bridge built across it. The river has an impressive 15m seasonal fluctuation.

Pantanal

The Pantanal is the world’s largest system of wetlands and magnificent marshlands. From January to March the area is flooded, accessible only to the wild residents. From July onwards it transforms.

Machu Picchu

The ancient Inca ruins of the city of Machu Picchu are well-known and visited by scores of people to Peru every year. The stones were cut so precisely, and fitted so well together not even a credit card could be inserted between them.

Patagonia

As Bruce Chatwin famously wrote, Patagonia is “the furthest place that man walked to from his place of origin”. Stunning wild national parks, glaciers, icefields, impressive mountain peaks and vast steppes barely touched by man.

Antarctica

Around 70 per cent of the earth’s freshwater sits in Antarctica’s ice. In some parts, the ice is up to 1.5 km thick at the South Pole.  Hidden lakes below the surface teem with microscopic life. It’s so different from anywhere else on earth.

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