San Fernando, Marcona, Ica

November 29th, 2010

The bay of San Fernando, located just 70km south east of Nazca on the Pacific coast, is a place of stunning natural desert scenery and is home to a surprising array of animals including some interesting visitors from the Andes mountains.

Condors, andean foxes and guanacos are just some of the species found at the coastal desert plains of San Fernando in the district of Marcona in the region of Ica. Including the sea and bird life normally found on the coast, the 154,000 hectares are home to some 300 species of plants and animals.

Declared a protected area in 2009, it is hoped that it will be declared a national reserve in the coming year.

San Fernando was once one of many Andean-Coastal corridors where Andean and coastal species mixed. Wild guanacos and foxes move between mountains and coast at will, as too do the giant condors, all mixing with animals always found on Peru’s coast such as pelicans, sea lions and Humboldt penguins. There is even evidence to support the presence of pumas.

The popular tourist destination to the north, Paracas, was one of these corridors until human development brought it to an end. Today, San Fernando is the only Andean-Coastal corridor remaining.

This year seven previously unknown species were discovered in the area, among them lizards, wasps, scorpions and spiders.

Despite plans for a reserve, and hopes of protecting the last remaining wilderness of its kind in the region, the area is unlikely to remain unspoilt. Neighbouring cape San Nicolas is to be turned into a megaport docked at by ships as large as 240 thousand tonnes, connected with the interoceanic highway that eventually crosses the Andes to Brasil.

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