Issue - June 2007

June 2007

This month's issue: Dual Tourism. Bolivian Theatre. More from the Museum of Archaeology. The Peace Corps in Bolivia and many others! Read on and familiarize yourself with some of Cochabamba's happenings! Do not forget...we enjoy recieving feedback from our please write to us and share your comments with us and the rest of Cochabamba! more...

June 2007

The Guacharo Birds Canyon

Carminia Arias and Silvia Bustillos of San Simon University worked with Tablas Monte Union to discover the habitat of the mysterious Guacharo bird

By: Carminia Arias and Silvia Bustillos
Conservation Biodiversity Unit, San Simón University
Sindicato Tablas Monte

It is now recognized that our community must work to conserve bio-diversity. Bolivia cannot fail to awaken the interests of visitors to discover this country´s amazing natural, cultural and rich bio-diversity resources. Proposals to establish municipal conservation areas, such as the one in Tablas Monte, reflect such concerns.

Tablas Monte, in the town of Colomi, is blessed with natural and cultural resources of great value to the tourism industry. Not only is it one of the most important archaeological sites in Cochabamba with its terrace structures, platforms, canals and undiscovered archaeological ruins, it is also an important ecological sanctuary of cloud forest. The area boasts a great variety of native orchids as well as housing other varieties of flora and fauna characteristic of its sub-tropical climate. Tablas Monte is a community famous for the production of Locoto, a small spicy fruit, and is one of the few places where one can taste different types of llajwa, a spicy vegetarian sausage made with tomato, onions and locoto. Visitors can also sample some of the Andean tubers such as walusa, racacha, yacón and chaira, which have been grown and consumed since the times of the Inca Tiwanaku empires.

It takes roughly three hours to walk from Tablas Monte to find the canyon where guacharos live. The canyon varies between 3 metres and 10 metres wide, and is comprised of two giant rock structures of some fifty metres high and three hundred metres long. Inside the canyon it is very cold and dark, and the river that runs through it makes it very humid. The ground is covered in seaweed, while on the upper part of the canyon there are little cracks in the rock where the guacharo nests are located.

The guacharos are small, blind night birds unique to South America. According to J A Balderrama’s report, Los Guacharos de las Cavernas del Repechón, the young birds of this species have an impressive amount of fat, which the local inhabitants used to extract for cooking and making oil lamps by the process of boiling the bodies of the birds. The guacharos build their nests in the edges of the caves in which they live using regurgitated material and mud.

The canyon is set in a beautiful location naturally sheltered by lush green hills, from where one can enjoy some amazing views. It makes for the perfect place for adventure sports, as well as being an ideal spot for the eco-tourist to visit. Visitors must be aware of the importance of bio-diversity, and of protecting and defending our valuable eco-system.

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