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Nature & Science Macarena

As part of the mosaic formed by different ecosystems, the area includes rainforests, forests and dwarf forests that are both dense and brightly lighted, and grassy vegetation typical of Amazonian plains.  Brought together here are the forms of life representing four large natural regions:  the Orinoco, the Amazon, the Andes, and Guiana.

The Macarena Mountains are surrounded by rivers to belong to the larger basin of the Orinoco River and the sub-basins of the Ariari and Guayabero Rivers.  To the Ariari belongs the Guejar River and to the Guayabero, the Duda, Losada, and Cafre Rivers.  The Guajar, Losada, and Duda Rivers have their headwaters in the East Range, while the Cafre River has its origins in areas covered by palms.

One of the most important characteristics of the importance of conserving the Serranía de La Macarena National Natural Park is its high number of endemic species of flora and fauna.  At present, available information on this subject is being revised, as preliminary studies based on this revision show 440 bird species, more than 20 species of flora, and another 20 species of fish and mammals.  Among the fauna in the park there are jaguars, pumas, the South American coati, the tanager, 8 primates, the western woolly opossum, the water opossum, and the giant armadillo.

Among the park´s vegetation are many endemic species.  Important to mention also are mosses and epiphytes, dwarf forests, the Surinam greenheart, the red fig, the nargusta, the "zapito," the "mortecino," the patuau palm, the royal palm, the "icqui" palm, the giant weed or travelers´ palm, and 34 kinds of orchids.  The tree species are often highly prized for their fine wood, including guayacán, cumin, cedar, kapok, and laurel.

There are 500 species of birds on record, about 27% of all the bird species in Colombia, which are predominantly from the Guyanas, the Amazon, and some from the Andean region. Most of these species have been reported in the area that falls within the National Park.

Characteristic species that have been collected in the park include birds of the Amazon:  Poroaria gularis gularis, Piayu melanogaster, Electron plathynchunm pyrolaenum; birds of the Andes: Aesio flammeus, Trogon personatus personatus, Campephilus pullens spp., Cistothorus platensi tamae; migratory birds of North America: Ana discordes, Pandion halinetus carolinensis, Actitis macularia, Coccyzus americanus americanus.

The following species are present: Paleosuchus trigonatus, Paleosuchus palpebrosus (Cuvier's dwarf caiman), Crocodylus intermedius (Orinoco crocodile), Caiman crocodilus fuscus (brown caiman).  The Amazon River turtle and the yellow-footed tortoise (Podocnemis unifilis, Geochelone denticulata) are two turtle species.

Of the species characteristic of the area we should note Cebus apella, Alouatta seniculus, Hydrochaerys hydrochaeris (capybara), Agouti paca (paca), Pecari tajacu (peccary), Pteronura brasiliensis (giant otter), Panthera onca (jaguar), Felis concolor (puma), Felis pardalis (ocelot), Felis yagouaroundi (tiger cat or jaguarundi), and Felis spp.

Reliable studies reveal that the most abundant fish families in the rivers of the park are the Pimelodidae, Characidae, and Cichlidae.

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