Scientists on a multiyear expedition in Bolivia’s Madidi National Park have confirmed that seven of the hundreds of vertebrate animals they have documented so far are previously undiscovered species. They include a golden-hued high-altitude lizard found nearly 14,800 feet above sea level.
The expedition, called Identidad Madidi, includes American and Bolivian scientists, who are cataloging the thousands of animal, insect, and plant species in the park’s grasslands, river valleys, rainforests, cloud forests, and Andean mountains.
The comprehensive survey of species to date includes 1,673 vertebrates and 1,080 butterflies. The science will inform government efforts to protect the park and its wildlife, but in the meantime, the scientists are regularly updating the Bolivian public on their finds via identidadmadidi.org, a Facebook page, and the social media tag #IDMadidi.
Madidi may be the most biodiverse-protected natural area in the world. Get a glimpse at some of its unique critters here.