RELEASE DATE: 01 May, 2012


We eat them, we wear them, we ride them. We love them, we fear them. Human’s relationship to animals is intimate, ancient and diverse. Models of interaction vary from exploitation to symbiotic cohabitation, and in this issue we delve into the Bolivian picture. The country is famed as one of the most biodiverse in the world, boasting not only several ecological regions, but also a number of smaller ecological niches within those regions. From urban dogs of La Paz to semi-tame monkeys, from the free soaring condor to the pink river dolphin, Bolivia houses habitats for an overwhelming range of species. These animals are a thread in the country’s cultural tapestry: they feature in legends of creation, endure as symbols on national monuments and coats of arms, and are everyday features of the landscape. Traditional Aymara beliefs connect the animals to the earth they live in as protective spirits, but sadly many today are under threat. At its most obvious harm to wildlife is serious because it is cruel and, when it occurs on a large scale, can unbalance an ecosystem. But above all it is controversial. In a country where many people struggle below the poverty line the needs of animals can easily be sidelined. Is it our place to tell a man who cannot feed his children that it is prohibited to traffic an endangered creature? That is not a question we seek to answer here, but it is important to consider. We would hope that awareness of the animals in our environment and their im- portance for the survival of the Pachamama we leave for our children could bring about cultural changes that might prevent the issue from arising. And this month, that is what Bolivian Express hopes to achieve. From Altiplano to Amazon, we pay homage to the four-legged, the finned and the winged across Bolivia.


Bolivian wildlife under threat

01 Jul, 2012 | Harry Shepherd

Trafficking One of the biggest threats to the wildlife of Bolivia, and indeed the rest of South America, lies in the animals' economic value and the worldwide commerce of wildlife trafficking. Af...

La Senda Verde

01 Jul, 2012 | Harry Shepherd

La Senda Verde animal refuge, located below the town of Coroico in the heart of the Amazon basin, is a safe haven for a range of wildlife. More than simply housing and feeding the monkeys, tortoises,...

Inti Wara Yassi

01 Jul, 2012 | Bindu Viswanathan

Profile: A safe haven for the animal victims of abusive situations and illegal wildlife trade. Rescued animals come here for rehabilitation and hopefully, an eventual release back into the wild. The r...

It’s a dog’s life in La Paz

01 Jul, 2012 | Helena Cavell

Leashless, a Scottish terrier takes itself for a measured stroll down the avenida San Pedro. Strays are a reality in any major city, but in La Paz loose dogs are often not the tramps they appear to be...

Animals at altitude

30 Jun, 2012 | Caroline Risacher

The immense Bolivian altiplano is a high plateau covering over 100,000 square kilometers between 3,000 and 4,900 meters above sea level. Its landscape varies from grassy fields to seemingly desolate v...

Creatures of the Chacana

01 Jul, 2012 | Xenia Elsaesser

The Chakana is the inca cross, symbolizing different levels of life through which the shaman transgresses in trance. He goes first to the underworld, embodied in the snake, and learns ‘I live. don’t l...