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SAN ANDRES DE CUTERVO
NATIONAL PARK

San Andres de Cutervo National Park is the first natural area in this category created by the Peruvian government. Its existence was a decisive precedent for the creating of the present National System of Natural Protected Areas (SINANPE) by the government. This National Park is located in the department of Cajamarca, province of Cutervo, district of San Andres de Cutervo, and has a surface area of 2,500 hectares.

San Andres de Cutervo National Park, located in the department of Cajamarca, is representative of Peru's high northern jungle. It was created in 1961 with an area of 2,500 ha and currently is expanding this area over the Tarros Cordillera in the western Andes, at altitudes between 2,200 and 3,500 meters above sea level, around the San Andres cave. It is located in a region of cloud forests, together with high-altitude forests, high jungle, reed beds, caves, rivers and swamps. The predominant vegetation is arborescent ferns, and brezos, palms, cedars, alisos colorados, mountain walnut trees, miniature willows, ishpingos, choloques and quinas. The fauna features vampire bats, armadillos, spectacled bears and anteaters, gallitos de las rocas, turkey hens, pilcos (a kind of partridge), antavacas (mountain tapir), deer, pumas, jaguars and the rare cavern catfish.

Its main attraction is the Guacharos Cave, located and hour's walk from San Andres. This cave is inhabited by a species of nocturnal bird called guacharo (Steatornis caripensis) and in the stream going through the cave and surrounding caverns lives the cavern catfish (Astroblepus rosei). The Park also shelters endangered species of wild fauna, such as the jaguar (Panthera onša), the tigrillo (Leopardus pardalis), the spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus), the otter (Lontra longicaudis), the wildcat (Oncifelis colocolo), the mountain tapir (Tapirus pinchaque), the pilco or golden-headed quetzal (Pharomachrus auriceps) and the gallito de las rocas (Rupicola peruviana).

One of its mammals that almost became extinct was the Spectacled Bear (Tremarctos ornatus), also called ucu or ucumari in quechua, the only South American bear species; it belongs to the order of the carnivores and the family of the ursids. Its distribution areas were the Andes and the Andean river basins, from Venezuela to the north of Argentina. It is a typical species of the high forest, between 800 and 3,800 meters above sea level, although it is also found in the western basins up to the Pativilca river. It climbs to considerable heights in the areas where there are keu˝a forests.

In the past, it migrated from the western Andean river basins towards the dry forests and savannah of Lambayeque and Piura to obtain cactus and sapote (Capparis spp.) fruit. Today this no longer happens, because the bear population has been almost wiped out by hunting and the virtual destruction of its habitat, the northern rainforests, and also because its migration routes have been occupied by roadways, towns and farmland.

The main areas in Peru where this species still exists are the wilderness areas; on Mt Chaparri (Chiclayo); in Cutervo National Park; in the high forest of San Ignacio, Jaen and Amazonia; in Rio Abiseo National Park; in Yanachaga - Chamillen (Oxapampa) National Park; in Manu National Park, and in the eastern Andean river basins where the forests have not yet been destroyed by mankind.

The spectacled bear is black or dark brown with a white patch around its eyes and down to the throat, this marking gives it its name, although some specimens may not possess it. It grows to a length of 1.5 to 1.8 m and can weigh up to 140 kg. The female protects her litter of one or two cubs fiercely.

This animal is plantigrade, meaning it walks on the soles of its feet, unlike other carnivores that are digitigrade, meaning they walk on their toes. It can adopt a vertical position on its two feet, in order to see at a greater distance and frighten its enemies.

The flora in this Park is extraordinarily rich and varied, and even has certain native species of its own. There are reed beds, dwarf forests and mist forests; one finds tiny-flowered orchids of extraordinary beauty, and the tree vegetation includes many valuable species, such as Cascarilla (Cinchona sp.), Cedar (Cedrela sp.), Oak (Nectandra sp.), Walnut (Juglans neotropica) and Aliso (Alnus jorullensis).

The main purpose of Cutervo National Park is the protection of its flora and fauna, as well as the preservation of the scenic beauty of the De los Tarros Cordillera; for this purpose, there is a control system in force to prevent undue use of the Park, as well as provide the protection necessary to prevent changes to the ecology and favor controlled ecological tourism.

The routes to the Park are:

By Land:
* Lima - Cajamarca - Cutervo - San Andres de Cutervo - San Andres de Cutervo National Park ( Travel time 24 h )
* Chiclayo - Santa Cruz - Chota - Cutervo - San Andres de Cutervo -San Andres de Cutervo National Park.(Travel time 18 h)

By Air:
" Lima - Cajamarca ( 60') Cajamarca

If you decide to visit the Park, we recommend that before entry you go by the Cutervo police station, where you will be given the instructions for entry to the Park, including the recommendation not to forget your provisions and all you will need during your stay.


 
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