Fish Fauna Museum in Trinidad, Beni

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The Fish Fauna Museum (Museo Ictícola) in Trinidad, the capital of Beni was founded in 1994 and is the third largest museum in South America to feature only fish species. This museum houses an exhibit of over 400 species of fish from the Amazon river and basin.

It is located at the UAB University campus 2.5 kilometers from the city center. Here you can see well-preserved specimens of pink river dolphin, catfish, electric eels, piranhas, rays, and many others.

Some specimens are preserved in formaldehyde in glass containers which makes this exhibit incredibly realistic (although very difficult to take photos of, due to the glass). Others are dried specimens or skeletons and others have made a visit to the taxidermist.

What is truly incredible about this museum is that all 400 species come from areas in the department of Beni, specifically around Trinidad and were taken from the Ibare, Mamoré, Madre de Dios and Madera rivers (all tributaries of the Amazon). Bolivia, and especially the Beni, are home to two of the world’s largest wetland regions: the wetlands of Beni and the Bolivian Pantanal.

These two regions alone house thousands of bird species, hundreds of fish species, hundreds of mammal species, and thousands of insect and plant species. The Amazon region, which covers only 3% of the Earth’s surface, is home to over 70% of all the world’s wildlife.

This museum is very important as it clearly demonstrates the need to ensure the conservation of the Amazon region and all its ecosystems and habitats. In the museum you can also see some sculptures that show how local fishermen fish (with hollowed-out wooden canoes). There are two sculptures of fish outside the museum – one is a pink river dolphin, the other is a bagre (catfish), both life-sized! Personally I dig the piranhas but then, I had them for breakfast. I fished them all by myself too!

Museum phone: (591-3) 456-8565. Hours are: Monday to Friday 8:00 a.m. to 12 noon & 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. and Saturdays 9:00 a.m. to noon. For a city tour that includes this museum contact Moxos Tours.

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