Though the Peruvian Amazon is only 10% of total area of Amazonia, it represents the wildest, most wildlife-packed rain forest in the world. The density and diversity of Amazonian animal and plant species reach global maxima in the extreme western Amazon, near the foot of the Andes.
Here the Alto Madre de Dios and the Manu rivers converge to form the Madre de Dios River near the jungle town of Boca Manu. Eastward on the Madre de Dios river brings one to the Amarakaeri Indian Reserve Zone and the private nature reserve of Manu Wilderness, an area boasting the highest diversity of terrestrial life on the planet Earth.
Tributaries to the Madre de Dios offer the best opportunities for diverse wildlife viewing within a relatively small area. Within the boundaries of private conservation nature reserves that adjoin the Amarakaeri Indian Reserve Zone, Giant Otters live in the ox-bow lakes, monkeys and myriad of birds inhabit the area.
Located along the Madre de Dios River within the private reseve areas of Manu two important Macaw Clay Licks, the only clay licks in Manu accessible to tourists, are found. Here, as well, is the world's largest known Tapir Lick.