The Tambopata National Reserve protects 274,690 hectares of rainforest in the Madre de Dios province of eastern Peru. It encompasses the former Tambopata Reserved Zone (TRZ), 5,500 hectares of undisturbed subtropical moist forest within which the Explorer's Inn was built. Research over the last four decades has concluded that this area of forest has the greatest diversity of wildlife of any single locality on Earth. It has more species of birds (600 spp.), butterflies (over 1200 spp.) and many other animal groups than any other location of its size.


This exceptional diversity is due to its privileged location at the meeting point of three important biomes: lowland tropical Amazon forest, the humid Pampas savannah, and extensive seasonally flooded palm swamps, not to mention the close proximity to premontane cloudforest of the Andean foothills just 100 km to the south. Indeed, at least nine major forest types can be distinguished around the Explorer's Inn, each with own community of distinctive plants and animals.


The forests of the Reserve were originally set aside in 1977 for long-term protection by the Peruvian government as a direct result of research undertaken at the Explorers´ Inn. In 1990, the Tambopata-Candamo Reserved Zone (TCRZ) was created. This conservation area has since been superseded by the Tambopata National Reserve and the Bahuaja-Sonene National Park, the latter of which was created in 1996.


These internationally important protected areas would not have been created without the biological studies and other educational initiatives undertaken around Explorer's Inn in Tambopata Reserve. Together the Tambopata National Reserve and Bahuaja-Sonene protect more than 1.3 million hectares, and abut the Madidi National Park in Bolivia, forming one of the largest contiguous protected areas of tropical forests in South America.


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