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Madidi National Park

Madidi National Park
IUCN category II (national park)
Madidi National Park, Bolivia
Map showing the location of Madidi National Park
Map showing the location of Madidi National Park
Location La Paz,  Bolivia
Nearest city Rurrenabaque, Beni
Area 18,957.5 km²[1]
Established September 21, 1995
Governing body SERNAP Servicio Nacional de Áreas Protegidas

Madidi (Spanish pronunciation: ) is a national park in the upper Amazon river basin in Bolivia. Established in 1995,[2] it has an area of 18,958 square kilometres, and, along with the nearby protected (though not necessarily contiguous) areas Manuripi-Heath, Apolobamba, and (across the border in Peru) the Manu Biosphere Reserve, Madidi is part of one of the largest protected areas in the world.

Ranging from the glacier-covered peaks of the high Andes Mountains to the tropical rainforests of the Tuichi River, Madidi and its neighbors are recognized as one of the planet's most biologically diverse regions.[3] In particular, Madidi protects parts of the Bolivian Yungas and Bolivian montane dry forests ecoregions.[4]

The Madidi National Park can be reached from Rurrenabaque if you cross the Beni River with the small passenger ferry over to San Buenaventura.

The local people who have migrated here from the Andean highlands speak the Quechua language. The cultures who find their origin here are the Tacana, the Mosete, the Tsimane, and the Ese Ejja, all of which have their own language which pertains to one language group.[5]

Some eco-lodges are found in and around the Madidi National Park. The oldest and best known is Chalalan Ecolodge in Chalalán on the Tuichi River, a successful community-based enterprise that generates significant economic benefits to indigenous communities (Malky et al., 2007).


  • Location 1
  • Weather 2
  • Effort 3
  • Wildlife 4
  • Ecotourism 5
  • The Bala Dam Project 6
  • The Apolo-Ixiamas road project 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


The PN (Parque Nacional) and IMNA (Integrated Management Natural Area) Madidi is located in the Northwest region of the Department of La Paz, in the provinces Franz Tamayo, Iturralde and Abel Bautista Saavedra. The municipalities involved are Apolo, San Buenaventura, Ixiamas, Curva and Pelechuco.

Adjacent to the west, with the Tambopata-Candamo Reserve and Bahuaja-Sonene National Park in Peru, on the east by the TCO (Tierra Comunitaria de Origen / Indigenous community land) Tacana I, on the north by TCO Tacana II and south adjacent to the Integrated Management Natural Area National Apolobamba, TCO Lecos Apolo, TCO Lecos Larecaja and Biosphere Reserve and Indigenous Territory Pilón Lajas.

The PN and IMNA Madidi is one of the largest protected areas in Bolivia, with a total land area, according to the Supreme Decree building 18957.5 square kilometres, of which 12,715 km² come under the heading of National Park and 6,242.5 km² are categorized under the Integrated Management Natural Area.

Its boundaries are between 12° 30' and 14° 44' southern latitude and between 67° 30' and 69° 51' western longitude.

The area under conservation covers an altitudinal gradient ranging from 180 to 5,760 meters above sea level and has a variety of ecosystems.


The climate is cold in the alpine region, temperate in areas of intermediate elevation, and tropical in the northern lowlands.

The winds come predominantly from the north, and cold fronts from the south have little impact on the temperature of the Madidi region. The dry season coincides with the austral winter. The average annual temperature is 26 C but varies greatly depending on the altitude. Isotemas

According to data from Assane (2002), in the region of Apollo the annual rainfall is 716 mm; the rainy season is from October to March, and the dry season is from May to September.Isoyetas[6]


Rosa Maria Ruiz is a woman who has fought for the park and its conservation for over 20 years. She was the founder of Eco-Bolivia, an organization that was instrumental in establishing Madidi National Park in the 1990s. In 2000, Ruiz led a team from the National Geographic through the Madidi National park, the resulting article drew significant international attention to the area, and assisted in derailing plans for the construction of a hydroelectric dam within the park. The organization ceased to operate in 2002. Ruiz now continues her work through Madidi Travel, an organisation committed to the consolidation of the Madidi Mosaic by generating income from sustainable tourism. Madidi Travel currently operates the Serere Sanctuary, a four thousand hectare private reserve, located three hours from Rurrenabaque by boat.[7][8]

Ted Parker, famed ornithologist at Cornell University, also had a hand in the establishment of Madidi National Park. See:


Dr. Robert Wallace, wildlife biologist, is credited for discovering in Madidi a previously unidentified titi monkey, a new species to science. This monkey is endemic to the area. The right to name the new species was auctioned through an agreement between the scientists, the Bolivian National Protected Area Service (SERNAP), and the Foundation for the Development of the Protected Areas (FUNDESNAP). This effort has raised U$650,000 for a trust fund that now generates enough income to pay for fourteen park guards annually. The park is also notable for its over 1,000 bird species, representing 11% of the world’s 9,000 bird species.[9]

In addition to the biodiversity found on its land, there is also a rich and varied life found here in the water with many fish species.


The Madidi National Park offers ecological and cultural tour experiences to visitors.

All this local tour operators are offering boat transportation, accommodation, meals and local guides to visitors wishing to enter the park. The eco-lodges are managed by the local indigenous population. The town of Rurrenabaque to the Madidi National Park takes one hour to 6 hours by boat, travelling along the Beni and Tuichi Rivers.

Rurrenabaque now has a paved airport - since 2010, reducing the risk of flight cancellation during the rainy season (December to March).

The Bala Dam Project

One of the threats against the Madidi NP have been (and perhaps still is) the proposed Bala Gorge, where the Beni River breaks through the Bala Mountain Range.

The proposed hydroelectric dam project has a long history, and the project (and its threats against the nature in the area) was especially relevant about the year 1998. After some years the project apparently was given up, but the idea has come up again in 2007.

The dam would cause the flooding of a huge area, about 2000 square kilometre, including a great part of the Madidi NP, and the catastrophic consequences are evident.

The Apolo-Ixiamas road project

Another of the main threats against Madidi is the construction of the Apolo-Ixiamas road. This is an old demand from some local politicians and communities from the Altiplano, who want to colonize the park for timber and agriculture exploitation. However, independent studies from the NGO Conservation Strategy Fund have shown that this project is not a good development alternative for the region (Fleck et al., 2006a, 2006b). The project is economically unfeasible and would induce significant deforestation within the protected area (Fleck et al., 2006b).

Environmental losses caused by the road project could threatened the current and future conservation and tourism activities in this protected area, which generate significant economic benefits to the region (Fleck et al., 2006a; Malki et al., 2007). Alternative investments such as improving the road that connects Apolo to La Paz (Peñarrieta & Fleck, 2007) and directing the road investment towards social investments such as health and education (Fleck et al., 2006b) have much more prospects of improving local quality of life while maintaining the important environmental services provided by Madidi.

See also

  • Madidi Jungle Ecolodge Traveler Reviews on Trip Advisor in Rurrenabaque Madidi National Park, Bolivia
  • Madidi River
  • The National Geographic Magazine, March 2000; Vol. 197, No.3, page 2-23


Fleck, L. C., Amend, M., Painter, L., Reid, J. (2006a). Regional economic benefits from conservation: the case of Madidi. Serie Técnica No. 5. Conservation Strategy Fund, Bolivia. 82 p..

Fleck, L. C., Painter, L., Reid, J., Amend, M. (2006b). A road through Madidi: an environmental-economic analysis. Serie Técnica No. 6. Conservation Strategy Fund, Bolivia. 100 p..

Malky, A., Pastor, C,Limaco, A., Mamani, G., Limaco, Z., Fleck, L. C. (2007). El efecto Chalalán: Un ejercicio de valoración económica para una empresa comunitaria. Serie Técnica No. 13. Conservation Strategy Fund, Bolivia. 74 p..

Peñarrieta, L., Fleck, L. C. (2007). Beneficios y costos del mejoramiento de la carretera Charazani - Apolo. Serie Técnica No. 14. Conservation Strategy Fund, Bolivia. 76 p..

  1. ^ "SERNAP". Retrieved 2008-02-10. 
  2. ^ "Right to Name New Monkey Auctioned for Conservation". Environment News Service, international daily newswire. 2005-02-10. Retrieved 2007-09-25. 
  3. ^ "Wildlife Conservation Society". Archived from the original on 2008-01-30. Retrieved 2008-02-10. 
  4. ^ Olson, D. M, E. Dinerstein, et al (2001). "Terrestrial Ecoregions of the World: A New Map of Life on Earth".  
  5. ^ "THE EXPEDITION TO APOLOBAMBA". Retrieved 2007-09-23. 
  7. ^ ""Bolivia burning. An environmentalist’s vision in ashes", published in "Earth Island Journal"". Retrieved 2008-12-12. 
  8. ^ "The thread "Rurrenbaque Tours - Madidi Travel", The Thorn Tree travel forum, 24-Nov-2008". Retrieved 2008-12-12. 
  9. ^ "Why Is Madidi So Amazing?". Wildlife Conservation Society. Archived from the original on 2007-08-07. Retrieved 2007-09-23. 

External links

  • Servicio Nacional de Áreas Protegidas, SERNAP: The Madidi National Park - El Parque Nacional Madidi: Official website
  • Regional economic benefits from conservation: the case of Madidi
  • A road through Madidi: an environmental-economic analysis
  • El efecto Chalalán: Un ejercicio de valoración económica para una empresa comunitaria
  • Beneficios y costos del mejoramiento de la carretera Charazani - Apolo
  •, in three languages, "Projekt Regenzeit e.V." (Cf. *
  • How Does WCS Protect Madidi? (Wildlife Conservation Society).
  • Madidi National Park and IMNA - Park Profile,
  • Madidi photos, Photo gallery of landscape, flora and fauna of Madidi National Park
  • Bolivian Conservationist Calls for Preservation of Madidi Region, One of the Most Biodiverse Areas of World video by Democracy Now!
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