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Amboro National Park click on the image to enlarge
Bolivia is home to an incredibly varied and exotic range of ecosystems. With a total of 13 life zones (as opposed to Costa Rica’s 9), its 22 national parks and protected areas represent 15.6% of the country's total land mass. Amboro National Park, located near Santa Cruz, has more than 800 species of birds alone, while Madidi National Park, north of La Paz, commands 11% of the world's species of flora and fauna. The flora of Bolivia includes a coarse grass, called ichu, which is mainly grown on barren high plateau in the west.

capybaras click on the image to enlarge
Other trees include para rubber trees and more than 2,000 species of hardwood trees, including mahogany. Plants like giant ferns, vanilla, sarsaparilla, and saffron mainly grow in the tropical forests of the east, as well as untold numbers of medicinal plants. As for animal life, the llama, alpaca, and vicuña are found chiefly on the Altiplano. Jaguars, capybaras, peccaries, and tapirs are common in the Yungas. Birds are found in great variety in the forests.

capybaras click on the image to enlarge
Among them are horned curassows, quetzals, cock-of-the-rocks (found almost exclusively in Bolivia), and the more frequent chestnut-fronted macaws and cuvier toucans.  Fish like bass, trout, and deadly piranhas are abundant in Lake Titicaca and the rivers. Monkeys, pumas, armadillos, and a variety of reptiles, birds, and insects are found predominantly in the tropical Amazon Basin. Bolivia is also home to the giant anteater, the two-toed sloth, several species of monkey such as howlers and capuchins, the ocelot and margay, and the increasingly rare spectacled bear, the only species of bear found in South America.
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