Bolivia is a landlocked country towards the south-east of Peru and east of Chile, on the western half of the South American continent. The country contains an amazing amount of wildlife and natural attractions, such as the Andean mountain range, impressive salt flats and the Amazon Rainforest.
The Bolivian Amazon Rainforest contains some of the world’s highest levels of Biodiversity. One of the key protected areas offering a degree of protection to this area is the Madidi National Park, which was established in 1995 with a proposal from Rosa Maria Ruiz and her co-founded organization the Eco Bolivia Foundation (also the owner of the Serere Lodge). The park was suggested in an attempt to preserve the extraordinary levels of animals and plants, but also to protect the futures of the area’s many native communities.
In 1991, Conservation International identified the forests of the Madidi region to contain some of the highest biodiversity levels on Earth. The park covers around 1,880,996 ha of mainly tropical rainforest and also forests of the Andean mountain range. Despite the apparent protection, the park is still harvested by logging and oil companies with people in power turning a blind eye. Properly managed tourism is showing promise to aid conservation with both the Serere Lodge and Chalalan Lodge seeing a return of key animals, such as jaguar and giant otters, the best symbols of a healthy forest. These areas, however, represent a tiny fraction of the Madidi Mosaic, which is in dire need of enforced protection before we lose another of the world’s amazing places.
The Serere Reserve
Another area protected within the Madidi Mosaic is the privately owned and protected Serere Reserve. The reserve itself is situated in flooded forest of northern Bolivia and is a private reserve of four thousand hectares owned by a conservation organisation. The reserve covers a range of ecosystems and four different lakes.
Different conservation and community focussed organization have focussed their efforts on this reserve and the surrounding area, such as the Eco Bolivia Foundation (www.ecobolivia.org), the Organization of Indigenous Tacana Communities of Ballivián, Franciscans International (www.franciscansinternational.org), and Franciscan Peace and Justice Movement (www.movfra/jpic/bol.org). The Serere northern border is shared with a 250, 000 hectare indigenous territory, which Eco Bolivia helped establish, and many of the communities work in the tourism industry.
The animals of the Serere Reserve include tapir, two toed sloths, three toed sloths, black caiman, many different snakes including anacondas, many birds, such as macaws, herons, eagles, toucans, jabirus, and hoatzin; and a high variety of Amazonian fish. The area has been named as one of the world’s most biologically diverse regions and so it should be clear why there is a tremendous importance in protection. To access the Madidi Mosaic and Serere Reserve, you can choose tours from Rurrenabaque.