Ecuador, officially the Republic of Ecuador is a representative democratic republic in South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west. It is one of only two countries in South America, along with Chile, that do not have a border with Brazil. The country also includes the Galápagos Islands in the Pacific, about 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) west of the mainland.
The main spoken language in Ecuador is Spanish. Ecuador straddles the equator, from which it takes its name, and has an area of 275,830 km2 (106,500 sq mi). Its capital city is Quito, which was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the 1970s for having the best preserved and least altered historic center in Latin America. Ecuador is also home—despite its size—to a great variety of species, many of them endemic, like those of the Galápagos islands. This species diversity makes Ecuador one of the 17 megadiverse countries in the world.
Yasuni National Park is arguably the most biologically diverse spot on Earth. The park is at the center of a small zone where amphibian, bird, mammal, and vascular plant diversity all reach their maximum levels within the Western Hemisphere. Moreover, the park breaks world records for local-scale (less than 100 km2) tree, amphibian, and bat species richness, and is one of the richest spots in the world for birds and mammals at local scales as well.
The park holds a world record 150 amphibian species for places with comparable landscapes. It also is in the top for amphibian diversity compared to other sites sampled in the western Amazon. The total of its amphibian species are more than the United States and Canada combined. Reptile species in the park is also very high with 121 documented species found. In spite of covering less than 0.15% of the Amazon Basin, Yasuni is home to approximately one-third of amphibian and reptile species. The park also harbors high levels of fish diversity with 382 known species. This number is greater than the amount of fish species found in the whole Mississippi River Basin. Yasuni also is home to at least 596 bird species which comprises one-third of the total native bird species for the Amazon. The park is also very rich with many species of bats. On a regional scale, the Amazon Basin has an estimated 117 bat species but on a local scale, Yasuni is estimated to have comparable richness. In a single hectare, Yasuni has over 100,000 different species of insects which is roughly the amount of insect species that can be found in all of North America. The park also boasts one of the world’s richest levels of vascular plants. It is one of nine places in the world that has over 4,000 vascular plant species per 10,000 km2. The park contains many species of trees and shrubs and holds at least four world records for documented tree and liana richness as well as three world records for diversity in woody plant species. The park also hosts a list endemic species such as 43 different species of vertebrates and 220–720 different plant species.
However, Yasuni National Park is threatened by oil extraction and the colonization, deforestation, illegal logging, and unsustainable hunting that accompanies oil-access routes.
Tip: When flying in to Quito, Arrive during day and get a window seat or near by on the right hand side of the plane as the views are breathtaking.Vodpod videos no longer available.