The Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve is a protected area is characterized by its high biodiversity and interaction and cooperation between the species inhabiting the area. 493 bird species, 100 mammal species, 247 fish species, 52 reptile species and over 12, 000 plant species have been recorded in the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve and more are being identified on a regular basis. The tropical rainforest vegetation contains a rich variety of plants, such as palms, bromeliads, Ceibos, heliconia, Macrolobium, wild roses and 60 different orchid species.
Its geomorphology has been defined by the rivers which carry sediment and materials from the Andes Mountains. The most important of these is the Aguarico River, which is considered a white water river due to the sediment it drags raising water levels and therefore ensuring that the river is navigable all year round. It is considered to be one of the most biodiverse sites in the world together with the neighboring Yasuni National Park.
The climate is typical of wet tropical forest, with precipitations between 0.18 to 0.25 cubic inches per year, and humidity ranges from 85% to 95%. The dry season runs from December to March, during which time the lagoons are almost totally empty; and the rainy season from April to July. There is a moderate rainy season between August and November. The annual temperature oscillates around 25 °C (77 °F)
The Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve is very interesting ethnologically. The Cofans, Sionas, and Secoyas live along the banks of the Aguarico and Cuyabeno rivers, both important tributaries of the Amazon. The Siona community lives in the northern part of the reserve, in Puerto Bolivar and along the Tarapuy River. Siona, Secoya, and Cofan folk healers (locally called 'shamans') are respected among other communities in the jungle for their botanical knowledge. Because of the sensitivity of the biodiversity and ethnography of the area, the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve belongs to the National Protected Areas System, which means only a few tour operators are licensed to work here. Therefore, few tourists can be found visiting the Reserve.
Yasuni National Park is home to several uncontacted indigenous tribes, including the Tagaeri and the Taromenane. Nonetheless, like so many rich wilderness areas in the world, the Yasuni National Park is at threat from destructive economic practices, particularly oil-exploration. By taking an Ecuador Amazon riverboat cruise to the Yasuni National Park, you are not just enjoying one of the planet's most remarkable environments - you are supporting an economic enterprise that has a vested interest in maintaining the ecological integrity of the area.
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