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MEGANTONI NATIONAL SANCTUARY
Megantoni National Sanctuary was created by means of Supreme Decree Nº 030-2004-AG on August the 18th of 2004. Its surface stretches along 215868.96 hectares and it is located in the central part of the basin of the Urubamba River, in the Cordillera of Ausangate, District of Echarate, in the Province of La Convención, Department of Cusco.
This is one the few remaining areas whose vegetation is still intact and that allows linking the highland region (puna) with the lower forest. This zone not only contains an impressive amount of unique species and restricted to its latitudinal characteristics, but also serves as a continuous corridor for the fauna species, especially nowadays when climatic changes and deforestation affect the habitat of many of them.
Megantoni Reserved Zone has a much-variegated vegetation with the orchids, which are present in almost all the studied areas, standing out. This great diversity is perhaps the consequence of the ample range of habitats this area shows: 10 Life Zones.
The fauna at the Sanctuary is pretty diverse too; plenty of bird species have been spotted, as well as new and unique frog and lizard species. Besides, 5 out of the 32 mammal species found in Megantoni Reserved Zone are threatened with extinction and 12 are potentially endangered.
The geography of this Natural Reserve is predominantly steep and mountainous with altitudes that oscillate between 416 and 3960 metres above sea level, creating in this manner a variety of altitudinal floors and weathers that allow the existence of ten Life Zones. The River Pass of Mainique, which has more than 30 waterfalls on both sides of the Urubamba River, is also part of this Sanctuary.
The River Pass of Mainique has an extremely important significance for the Machiguenga and Yine Yami Cultures living in the basin of the Urubamba River, due to the fact that the legends regarding the origin of their ancestors, as well as diverse aspects of their lives, are related to the waterfalls of this place. Travellers and adventures come here, but mostly Machiguenga healers for it is said that some sort of nature guardians, rather nature spirits, who reveal their wisdom and knowledge of medicinal plants to the healers, live inside the mountain rocks.
The Main objective of Megantoni National Sanctuary is to preserve the intangible character of the ecosystems developing on the mountains in Megantoni, which contain pristine forests, water sources such as that of the Tambia and Ticumpinia Rivers, and high cultural and biological values.
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