One of the most surprising aspects of Atacama is the variety of animal and plant species that have been able to adapt to the extreme conditions that dominate the driest desert on our planet.
WWF affirms: “The intrinsic value of the Atacama Desert's plant and animal communities lies in the unique nature of their composition, the high levels of endemism and some species remarkable adaptations for survival in some of the planet's most demanding conditions. The highly rare flora is of particular importance."
Atacama is the habitat for three species of Flamingos, mammals such as the Zorro Culpeo, Llama,Vicuña and at lesser altitudes the Guanaco. Rodents including the Vizcacha can be spotted sunbathing in the midday sun. There are dozens of bird species, the most characteristic being the Tagua Tagua which builds its predator –proof aquatic nests, or the Suri, the Ostrich of the Altiplano.