Unique Flora & Fauna
Orchids and bromeliads
Several species of orchids and bromeliads can be found in the park. The Bromelia lasiantha, a ground growing plant is well known for its pink flowers in a bright red heart. The leaves grow in a rosette and bear sharp thorns. Other bromeliads include the “Barba di kadushi” and the “teku di palu”. Which grow in trees and cacti.
Two species of orchids are widely spread through the park; the white Brassavola nodosa, which blooms mostly in December an January and the purple Myrmecophila humboldtia which has its blooming peak in July and August.
These organisms, which are a symbiotic relation between a fungus and algae, grow in the southern part of the park. They thrive there because the humidity of the air on the ridge is slightly higher that at sea level due to the enforced ascend of the easterly winds. These organisms only grow in places where the air is still pure, and as such air pollution is not a factor.
The rainy season is the perfect moment to enjoy the large amount of flowers which decorate the trails and routes in the park. Especially the bright orange flowers of the Yellow Sage (Lantana camara) and the pink-purple flowers of the Morning Glory (Ipomoea incarnata) live up the park with their bright colors and big flowers. But it’s the small flowers of the other plants that give interesting insight in the ecology of Curaçao’s flora.
The best known species of reptile on the island is the Green Iguana. The green-greyish animal speaks to the imagnation of many people. However it is not the only species of reptile you will find in the park. Whiptail lizards can be seen on every trail and sunning on the car routes throughout the day. The elusive whipsnake can be spotted relatively often on the mountain trail. These snakes are not poisonous and not aggressive. The anolis species Anolis lineatus is abundant in the park and easy to recognize by the bright orange/yellow colored dewlap. Other species of reptile also exist in the park but are mostly nocturnal.
The white tailed deer is the largest mammal living in the park. Its population numbers is unknown but scientists calculate their numbers to be about 250 individuals. Curaçao is one of two islands in the Caribbean that have this type of deer, Isla de Margarita being the other. The deer on Curaçao is a endemic subspecies, different in appearance and in beahviour from the species on the main land.
Other mammals in the park include the Cottontail, family of rabbits and hares, and several species of bats.
More than 168 bird species have been recorded from Curaçao. At least 51 are breeding birds, 71 are migrants from North America, 19 are visitors from South America and 19 are seabirds. Two subspecies of birds are restricted to Curaçao, namely, the Parakeet Aratinga pertinax pertinax and the Barn Owl, Tyto alba bargei. Fourteen other birds are endemic to the Leeward Dutch Antilles (and nearby Venezuelan islands) at subspecies level. Endangered breeding birds include the Barn Owl, the Caracara, Polyborus plancus, the White-tailed Hawk, Buteo albicaudatus, the Scaly-naped Pigeon, Columba squamosa, and several species of tern.
A total of 26 land and freshwater molluscs have been reported, two of which are endemic to Curaçao (Guppya molengraaffi, Tudora rupis) and six of which are endemic to the Leeward Dutch Antilles and adjacent Venezuelan islands (Brachipodella raveni, Cerion uva, Cistulops raveni, Gastrocopta octonaria, Microceramus banairiensis, Tudora megacheilos). Most species are associated with calcareous geological formations and several show significant morphological shell variation between different parts of the island.