FRANZ TAMAYO, ITURRALDE (ne) (near), (Compass) 

00o00´S/00o00´W ha montane and lowland Amazonian rain forest 

Protected/registered status 

Best Time for visit (time visited)


Birding Site Guide

This national park sits in the provinces of Franz Tamayo and Iturralde, north of the La Paz Department. There are several other protected areas adjoining or nearby, these include the Manuripi Heath, the Apolobamba Comprehensive Management Natural Area (Ulla Ulla National Park) and the Pilón Lajas Biosphere Preserve. Total protected area is 2,430,740ha, and there are at least 4 lodges in the area.

Access to Chalalán is from (the airport) at the city of Rurrenebaque and then west along the River Beni to Madidi Chalalán Lagoon Lodge. 

The late Theodore Parker III was largely responsible for the creation of Madidi, stating that Bolivia had the opportunity to ‘create the world’s most biodiverse protected area’. He was right. Madidi holds the world record for the number of bird species (and probably other Classes) for the smallest area, with Manú a close second. For accounts of the protected areas of Bolivia mentioned here, please see Bolivia sites.

 This reserve is part of an extensive network of inter-connected protected areas of various sorts, and they joins protected areas in s Peru. In Bolivia protected areas that link together are ALTO MADIDI NATIONAL PARK, with MANURIPI HEATH AMAZONICA NATIONAL RESERVE to its n which stretches away ne, ULLA ULLA FAUNISTIC RESERVE joining it to the s, to its se is PILÓN LAJAS BIOSPHERE RESERVE which has to its se the AREA PROTECTION DIVISORIA DE AGUAS EVA EVA which further connects on its s side to ISIBORO SECURE NATIONAL PARK. Altogether this huge area constitutes well over 6,721,000ha (thought there is a certain amount of estimate in this calculation, and the given size for Isiboro seems way too large by about 600,000ha!) which although not that large on a world scale of protected places (the world’s largest national park is 70,000,000ha in n Greenland; to Denmark) is nonetheless a huge area of tropical habitats. It is also along with the Chocó of w Colombia and w Ecuador, the most biodiverse of areas on earth (the Subtropical Yungas and Subtropical Amazonia also holds the world record for tree diversity at 650 spp/ha). The 2 countries, Peru and Bolivia deserve praise for not only preserving such a huge area of habitat, but also for making sure it covered so much altitude and habitat types. 

There are a number of sources for the number of bird species that occur at Madidi. Remsen and (the late) Parker (1995) predicted at least 1,088 species and possibly 1,138 for the proposed national park of 1,000,000ha, however once designated Madidi park was nearly double this size, and so presumably contains more species. Other sources put the estimate at 1,200 species ( 2001) and Conservation International estimate 1000 species (2003) (Andean Conservation Corridors program), which is close to the 988 already recorded (Virtual Andean Tourist Routes 2002). This is more than the long time number one site Manu National Park in Peru with 925 (2005) as the highest number of species on earth.


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Virtual Andean Tourist Routes 

Conservation International ( 
Madidi map 

Remsen, J.V., JR, Parker, T.A., III (1995) Bolivia has the opportunity to create the planet’s richest park for terrestrial biota. Bird Conservation International 5:181-199. 

Author: BSG