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A view of the Huallaga
|Region||Huánuco Region, Loreto Region,
Pasco Region, San Martín Region
The Huallaga River is a tributary of the Marañón River, part of the Amazon Basin. Old names for this river include Guallaga and Rio de los Motilones. The Huallaga is born on the slopes of the Andes in central Peru and joins the Marañón before the latter reaches the Ucayali River to form the Amazon. Its main affluents are the Monzón, Mayo, Biabo, Abiseo and Tocache rivers. Coca is grown in most of those valleys, which are also exposed to periodic floods.
The Huallaga remains one of the truly untamed rivers of South America. Although it runs for 700 miles (1,100 km),it remains unnavigable for most part. For nearly its entire length the Huallaga is an impetuous torrent running through a succession of gorges. It has forty-two rapids (pongos) and it crosses the Andes, forming the Pongo de Aguirre gorge. From this point, 140 miles (230 km) from the Amazon, the Huallaga can be ascended by larger river boats (lanchas) to the port city of Yurimaguas, Loreto.
The Huallaga is divided in two, before and after it passes the city of Juanjuí: the Alto Huallaga (Upper Huallaga) and the Bajo Huallaga (Lower Huallaga), because the terrain changes from the slopes of the Andes to the swamps of the Amazon Rainforest. Between the Huallaga and the Ucayali lies the famous "Pampa del Sacramento," a level region of stoneless alluvial lands covered with thick, dark forests, first entered by Christian missionaries in 1726. It is about 300 miles (480 km) long, from north to south, and varies in width from 40 to 100 kilometers. Many streams, navigable for canoes, penetrate this region from the Ucayali and the Huallaga. In addition to peasants, it is still occupied by many indigenous communities, such as the Cocama-Cocamilla.
Eric Fleming who played Trail Boss Gil Favor in the long running Western series Rawhide was killed in the Huallaga River. During the shooting of location shots on the Huallaga River on September 28, 1966, Fleming dove (intentionally?) from a dug-out canoe after paddling it beyond the rapids. His body was lost in the turbulent water and was not recovered until three days later.
The Huallaga River supports a myriad of wildlife and vegetation. The river is especially rich in amphibian life. A total of 18 species of frogs have been recorded from it, including the Prostherapis femoralis, Phyllodromus pulchellus and Dendrobates reticulatus.
- "Huallaga River". Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved 29 January 2013.
- BOULENQER,, G. A. "On a Collection of Frogs from Yurimaguas, Huallaga River, Northern Peru". Zoological Society of London. Retrieved 29 January 2013.
- Van Dun, M. (2009). Cocaleros: Violence, drugs and social mobilization in the post-conflict Upper Huallaga Valley, Peru. Amsterdam: Rozenberg Publishers.