Manu Park is situated in Peru, located west of Puerto Maldonado. Access is easier and cheaper from Cusco, is one of the most important tropical parks in the world, and was declared a " World Biosphere Reserve" by UNESCO in 1977. It is home to many different ecological zones between 4,000m (13,120ft) and 300m (984ft) above sea level. Manu harbors a unique variety of wildlife. Over 1000 species of birds, 200 species of mammals, many reptiles and 10% of all the plant species on the planet have been recorded within the park's boundaries.
The great altitudinal range within the park means that Manu is home to several different ecosystems, which enormously increases the biological diversity of the area.
The most southerly point of the park, Acjanaco, lies at 3500m above sea level and is described as Tropical Alpine Grassland. It has short, scrubby vegetation and the weather is often cold. Lower down is the Elfin Forest, characterized by low trees, cold humid air and very diverse fauna, including a rare species of high altitude Toucan.
Further down, between 1000m and 2500m above sea level, the Cloud Forest begins. This is a unique ecosystem, which receives high rainfall and hosts a large number of endemic species such as the Spectacled Bear with glasses and the Cock-of-the-Rock (the national bird of Peru). Lower still lies the High Forest, between the Cloud Forest and the Amazon Basin, a diverse landscape rich in fauna. Here many indigenous ethnic tribes have made their homes. The lowland Amazon Basin itself lies at about 350m above sea level. No other park on Earth can compare to Manu in terms of variety of life forms. It boasts 13 species of monkey and one of the world's rarest mammals: the Giant River Otter.