Land and Resources, Plant and Animal Life
Atitlan grebe, Baja Verapaz, peccaries, Lake Atitlan, tapir
Most plants typical of tropical areas are found in the Guatemalan lowlands. In the mountain regions oak trees predominate on lower slopes, giving way to pine forests above 2,100 m (7,000 ft). Orchids and other brilliant flowers grow abundantly throughout the country.
Deer, monkeys, and piglike mammals called peccaries are common in the sparsely populated lowlands. Other wild animals—including jaguar, tapir, and puma—are found in smaller numbers, and crocodiles inhabit some rivers. Bird life is extremely rich, but the brightly colored quetzal, Guatemala’s national bird, is rare. The government has established several national parks and recreational areas to preserve plant and animal life. Among these are Mario Dary Rivera Park in the Baja Verapaz, dedicated to preservation of the quetzal, and the Chocon Machacas reservation near Livingston, on the Caribbean coast, designated for the preservation of the manatee and the mangroves. Efforts are also being made to save the elusive waterfowl known as the Atitlan grebe, which lives on Lake Atitlan.
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