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TLDR? Medellín may be a city, but there’s some incredible wildlife to be seen just beyond the town’s borders.
Medellin is a city that’s smack dab in the middle of one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. In fact, Colombia in general is recognized as one of the world’s 17 megadiverse countries.
Colombia is the world’s second most biodiverse country. This is astounding, considering it is second only after Brazil—a country approximately seven times larger.
So, what does that actually look like in terms of animal life in the city? Here are some of the amazing animal species that you can see just outside of Medellin!
As you probably know, Medellin lies very close to the equator in the tropics, an area well known for its magnificent nature and diversity.
However, you might not know that Medellin is nestled in the foothills of the Andes Mountains. The interplay between the Andes Mountain ecosystems and the tropical rainforests in the valleys below is quite stunning.
What results is a unique ecosystem with many species not found in other places.
Tropical rainforests are estimated by scientists to contain approximately 40-75 percent of the world’s total plant and animal species. That’s quite a chunk!
Experts stress the preservation of these ecosystems. This is to maintain balance and harmony in our world and environment.
The Amazon Rainforest, in particular, is seen as an absolutely essential natural buffer. Especially in the struggle to minimize the impact of climate change over the 21st century.
Some of the wildlife that lives in Colombia that probably needs no introduction. They number among some of the most well-known and charismatic animals worldwide.
Perhaps chief amongst these would be the mighty and legendary jaguar. The jaguar is one of the world’s largest predatory cats and figures prominently in local lore and iconography as a symbol of power and strength.
The country is also home to other large felines, including the ocelot and the puma. There are also spectacled bears, as well as a battalion of monkey species—the list goes on and on!
One of the other iconic residents of the South American rainforest includes the mysterious and demure tapir. It’s an interesting creature. It looks almost like some fantastical creature that an artist like Salvador Dali would conjure.
Also of interest are the large aquatic dwelling mammals of the forest. These include the endangered amazonian manatee and the exceedingly rare Amazonian river dolphin.
The forest of Colombia and the rest of South America are chock full of passionately colored and stupendously beautiful tropical birds. They are quite stunning to behold in real life.
In fact, Colombia ranks #1 in the diversity of bird life worldwide. Over 20% of the world’s species of birds are found within its borders. It’s quite incredible!
One of the most curious feelings I experienced was seeing animals in the flesh that I previously had only seen in zoos. This sensation was emphasized when a glorious green toucan landed just outside the window of the cabin I had rented for the weekend.
Pretty much any time I would leave the house, I would catch a flash of some fantastic tropical bird. It was practically impossible to miss them even in the thick foliage of the forest. The entire experience was quite inspiring.
Colombia is home to many iconic species, like the Andean Condor and the Harpy Eagle. There are also parrots and parakeets galore. Most of the domesticated birds that we have become familiar with have come from the South American rainforests.
Birding tours have become a massive hit in the regions surrounding Medellin and the rest of Colombia. Global recognition has come to the country for its simply unparalleled bird-watching experiences.
This has come to be a major element of the current ecotourism boom that the country is experiencing.
Not surprisingly, Colombia is also home to a truly massive number of reptiles and amphibians. These creatures are so numerous in this part of the world that it is not uncommon to find creatures like iguanas and geckos in urban areas. Sometimes even as surprise guests in one’s home!
Some of the more notorious residents include the potent poison dart frogs, as well as dozens of venomous vipers and snakes.
The Amazon and other low-lying tropical areas are also home to the gigantic anaconda, well known as the world’s largest snake. Other notable snakes include the boa constrictor and eyelash viper.
There are also dozens of species of turtles, including the giant Amazonian river turtle. The rivers are also home to the caiman, a relative of the crocodile that serves as one of the region’s apex predators.
There is also the common basilisk, a mind-boggling lizard that has become famous for its ability to easily run across bodies of water.
The explosive biodiversity of Colombia is a national and international treasure to be exalted. You can see so many fascinating, beautiful, and iconic wildlife species of all kinds. It’s one of the things that has begun to draw visitors to Colombia from all over the world.
Environmental consciousness has begun to increase in the general population. Awareness of the need to preserve the world around us has become more widespread.
Hopefully, the environmental heritage of Colombia and the rest of South America will continue to be safeguarded. And this will continue through the coming decades. That way, Colombians and the rest of us will be able to marvel at the natural wonders here for years to come!
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