Ecotourism fosters a noble yet innocent outlook towards living in the wilderness. Nature has a way of attracting individuals who are simply sick and tired of the gray and meaningless life in a concrete jungle. However, it is very difficult to comprehend how life in an ecological paradise could ever be a bitter struggle for survival.

Case in point: the story of people living in the Amazon biosphere reserve of Manu National Park paints an alternative picture few outsiders have (and are willing) to see. Considering how the inhabitants have to contend with the challenges of preserving precious wildlife, the story of Manu biodiversity is very telling.

The UNESCO Biosphere Reserve

Manu National Park was officially inscribed as a UNESCO Heritage Site in 1987. Located around the Madre de Dios Region of Cusco (Peru), this rainforest is home to 10 percent of the world's total bird species. Within this 18,811 square kilometer biosphere area grows a total of 15,000 plant species. It is also home to rare animal species like giant otters, giant armadillos, and jaguars.

Man Versus Nature

From the looks of it, Manu National Park is a perfect picture of paradise for eco-tourists. But for the small community of human tribes that live in this area, their survival is also constantly imperiled. Being a protected area, several restrictions are imposed within this UNESCO Heritage Site.

Among these conventions include the strict prohibition of fire arms for hunting. Obviously, farming is forbidden considering the drastic change of terrain it entails. Daily sustenance is restricted to hunting and fishing using crude eco-friendly tools.  If it is bad enough that the Manu tribes are burdened by the absence of 'civilization's advantages,' they are often caught in the middle of an armed skirmish between poachers and wildlife rangers.

Story Of A Little Girl

The world rarely pays attention to stories of human struggle in the isolated corners of the world. However, the 2016 National Geographic publication has caught a worldwide audience who are looking at the challenges of living in a paradise.

At the heart of the sad story of Manu biodiversity is Yoina, the indigenous little girl and the poster child for the alternative angle. Without access to quality health care and modern medicine, Yoina lost her mother due to childbirth.