Manu National Park was established in May, 1973, a few decades after the collapse of the Manu rubber boom that left much of the wildlife endangered. An agreement was signed in 1967 with other American countries to establish reserves. The objective was to conserve the country’s flora and fauna and Manu was born from this agreement. In 1968 Manu was declared a national reserve then upgraded to a national park five years later. Manu is situated across the departments of Cusco and Madre de Dios and contains over 1.5 million hectares of different habitat.
Tourism and Manu
The future of the Manu reserve area is uncertain as colonists encroach on park boundaries and oil and mining companies wait for opportunity to enter the region. Tourism remains the most viable plan for regional development.
Animals of Manu National Park
There are over 1000 different mammals, including jaguar, in Manu National Park and 120 species of fish and reptiles.
The Reserved Zone – Manu National Park
Tourism is prohibited within the boundary of the actual park, but you are able to visit the “reserved zone” containing better wildlife viewing than the park itself. In the reserved zone you will find the most scenic lakes of the area. The tamest wildlife are also observed here, as the park is home to a variety of mostly out-of contact Machiguenga Indians, consequently regarded as dangerous. Because of the Indians within the park, the wildlife is skittish and easily startled. Hunting has been banned in the reserved zone since 1980 allowing wildlife to recover and become accustomed to tourists.
Popular Sights in Manu
The most popular sights in the Manu area are the clay licks. This is where macaws congregate to ingest clay on the river banks in order to detoxify some of the foods they have eaten. This essential part of a macaw’s life provides visitors with a spectacular show of sound and colour. Giant otters also frequent the area and have grown accustomed to tourists. It is now possible to approach these social mustelids at close range.
Visiting Manu National Park
To visit the Manu area you can stay at the Manu Wildlife Center. The Manu Wildlife Center reports that a staggering 10% of tourists are able to spot jaguars prowling the reserved zone. This percentage is unrivaled elsewhere in the tropics. Alternatively, you can visit the tropical cloud forest by staying at the Cock of the Rock Lodge or combine the two on the Bio Trip. If you want to stay inside Manu National Park, you can stay at the Manu Tented Camp and combine with the Manu Wildlife Center of Cock of the Rock Lodge