Flora and Fauna


Zunzun

The Cuban's flora and fauna are characterized by their great diversity and high endemism level where the influence of insularity and the incredible geologic variety without a doubt with a notable presence of limestone areas, serpentinites, of slates and savannas with quarz sands , gives place to an extensive habitat variety and dissimilar conditions of life as well as to a very diverse mosaic of soils.

There have been counted as part of the flora and fauna of Cuba around 32 050 alive organisms although an important part of them are inferior organisms. There are among superior organisms 8 000 species of plants, 7 500 species of insects, 963 of fish, 121 of reptiles, 46 of amphibians, 350 species of birds and 42 of mammals are known. A very important characteristic of the Cuban's flora and fauna is that there are not dangerous species for the man,you can sleep everywhere with all tranquility (with the sure nuisance of the mosquitos, clear) because despite there are 2 species of crocodiles, they don't attack the man (at least without provocation) and the species of sharks that live in the Cuban waters don't share the aggressiveness of their neighbors from Florida. Between the other species of reptiles or amphibians there is not any poisonous and not even aggressive and lastly the mammals besides being scarce are of little size and totally inoffensive.

As it was already mentioned endemism is very significant between the animals and superior plants reaching 43% of the total of the terrestrial species, although it is more important in some groups like:


mollusks
94%
amphibians
93%
reptiles
75%
plants with flowers
52%
arachnids
52%
mammals
40%


policmita
Policmita

There are in Cuba marvels of the nature like the blind fish that inhabit the crystalline waters of underground lakes in limestone caverns at Pinar del Rio, truly charming snails: policmitas and Liguus, the smalest frog on the planet (Eleutherodactylus limbatus, of less than 1 cm of longitude), the tiniest bird in the world (Mellisuga helenae or Zunzuncito, 63 mm), strange and beautiful orchids and the extraordinary butterfly of transparent wings.

Archaic mammals can also be seen as almiqui, unfortunately in extinction danger; fossil fish as manjuari that inhabits rivers and lagoons (it is found with but frequency in Cienaga de Zapata) or vegetable fossils as Palma Corcho (Microcycas calocoma), dozens of beautiful and exotic species of orchids, marine mammals as manati; impressive but inoffensive reptiles as iguanas (there are species that reach a size of up to 1.5 meters), hundred of species of birds many of them are of great beauty for their plumage or singers that make happy the fields and forests with their melodious sounds.


flamencos
Flamingos

Cuba is really an ecological paradise with very good conditions created for the lovers of the nature and the ecoturism, taking advantage of its immense wealth and ecological diversity.

Cave-turism, observation of birds and flora and fauna in general, photo-hunter, horse riders or overcoming rivers in typical crafts, diving into subacuatic caves and the scaling of heights, they are modalities for whose practical Cuba is a good option.

The practice of walk across country also in the main ecoturistic areas is helped for interpretive signalings, route camps and the attendance of experts guides.


Lastly, a small chart where the endemism of the terrestrial alive beings of the island is summarized:


 
Total
Endemics
%
Plants
7941
3553
45
Animals
11690
4825
41
Total terrestrial alive beings
19691
8378
43

Natural protected areas

sierra del rosario
Sierra de Rosario

National system of protected areas has 236 areas, 81 of national significance and 155 of local interest at the moment, with a total surface of 26 750 km² of which 19 958 km² is in terrestrial areas and 6 792 km² in marine areas. Province of Pinar del Rio is the one that has bigger number with 30, Guantanamo province, 24; Matanzas, 23, and Island of Pines, 18.

For their handling categories they have been divided in Natural, Ecological Reservations and Floristic Managed, National Park, Outstanding Natural Element, Refuge of Fauna, Protected Natural Landscape and Protected area of Managed Resources.

Each one of them is in agreement with the classification of International Union for the Conservation of the Nature and the Natural Resources (UICN), arisen in 1948 in French city of Fontainebleau.

Cuba has 8 areas protected with international recognition they have very high ecological, landscape and cultural worth, they are:


Name
Category
Area (km²)
Province
Guanahacabibes
Reserve of Biosphere
1 192
Pinar del Río
Sierra del Rosario
Reserve of Biosphere
251
Pinar del Río
Cuchillas del Toa
Reserve of Biosphere
2 083
Guantánamo-Holguín
Baconao
Reserve of Biosphere
806
Santiago de Cuba
Ciénaga de Zapata
Reserve of Biosphere
10 499
Matanzas
Buenavista
Reserve of Biosphere
3 135
Sancti Spiritus
Parque Nacional desembarco del Granma
Patrimony of Humanity
326
Granma
Parque Nacional Viñales
Cultural Landscape
111
Pinar del Río

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