LA PAZ – Twenty man-years of monumental work by Polish-Bolivian photographer Mileniusz Spanowicz and British biologist Robert Wallace at Bolivia’s Madidi National Park, considered to be one of the world’s most biodiverse zones, are reflected in a new book capturing the majestic beauty of the area.
In the book’s 448 pages rich with photos and explanations of the flora and fauna at Madidi the authors deal with virtually the full gamut of the ecological niches existing in the protected area in western Bolivia.
The images include shots from the park’s highest elevation, 6,044 meters (about 19,825 feet) above sea level down to just 190 meters (623 feet) above sea level in the Amazon savannah.
Madidi encompasses 1.8 million hectares (some 4.5 million acres), a minuscule portion of the planet’s surface, but it contains 3 percent its plant species, almost 4 percent of its vertebrate species and 9 percent of the world’s avian species, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society.
The colorful and heavily illustrated book was presented this past week in La Paz by the Gisbert publishing house and is available in both Spanish and English with the aim of showcasing for Bolivians and others the park’s wealth and treasures.
“The book has a great variety of animals, it’s not boring, each photo is surprising. Even I am amazed when I see the photos in the book,” Spanowicz told EFE.
Birds, snakes, frogs, bears, butterflies and insects – and many more – have been captured by Spanowicz’s lens and are reflected in the book’s 435 photographs.
Spanowicz took at least 10,000 photos over the course of a decade at the park and editors had a “titanic” job culling through the images to select only the best for the book, which also has 41 fold-out photos of the local flora and fauna.
Spanowicz also said that his studies in herpetology – the study of reptiles – helped him know how to get close to the animals he was photographing, often a task requiring monumental patience.
The photos are accompanied by text written by Wallace, who has devoted more than a decade to researching the park’s wildlife.
“We want, with this sample, for the reader to be able to be in the park via the book, and with the texts to transmit to them the beauty and enthusiasm that we have and see there,” Wallace told EFE.