The Saguaro National Park is located in Tucson, Arizona in the southwestern United States. The park is located in the Sonoran Desert, which extends far into Mexico, and is considered one of the most beautiful and biologically diverse regions of this desert. An outstanding plant has given the park its name: the Saguaro Cactus Carnegiea gigantea ( Saguaro engl. ).

Since 1933, the area is protected as a National Monument. The National Park status was awarded on 14 October 1994. According to the National Park Service in 2003 were 637 888 visitors to the reserve, which extends over nearly 370 km ².

Geography and climate

The Saguaro National Park consists of two areas located on the western or the eastern edge of the city of Tucson in southeastern Arizona. The smaller western part contains extensive holdings of the candelabra cactus. The hilly level is about 800 meters above sea level. In the Tucson Mountains a height of 1418 m is reached. The easternmost district rises from the plain to the Mica Mountain ( 2641 m), the highest peak in the mountains of the Rincon Mountains, about 40 kilometers east of Tucson.

The Saguaro National Park is located in the eastern part of the Sonoran Desert and is part of the Arizona Upland. Temperatures exceed in summer during the day often 40 ° C in the shade while it cools in the evening to an average of 22 ° C. The average temperatures in the winter at 19 ° C day and 4 ° C in the night. The average annual rainfall is below 300 mm.

Flora and Fauna

In the park there is an unusually large variety of habitats. Plants and animals are adapted to survive in the hot and dry desert can. The desert region is not as lifeless as it is to be assumed at first glance.

More than 1000 plant species are native to the Saguaro National Park. Besides the giant saguaros are here Cylindropuntia species and Ferocactus wislizeni common, but also colorful flowers like lupine and poppy. Other typical inhabitants of the desert plain, the large green mesquite shrubs and Fouquieria splendens, whose long, thin trunks often look as if dead, but most of the time wearing red flowers. Pine and juniper are in the mountains at home.

The animal world presents itself just as varied. Coyotes and pigs like peccaries are among the more common large animals in the park. Large carnivores are represented by cougars and black bears, the latter inhabit the higher elevations in the first place. The same is true for white -tailed deer. Smaller predators are bobcat, Kit Fox, Gray Fox, Katzenfrett, Raccoon, White Elephant trunk coati, silver roof and various Skunks. In addition, antelopes rabbits, jackrabbits, Audubon cottontail rabbit and various squirrels occur. Birds are especially numerous to be found with about 200 species, for example, Arizona's state bird, the cactus wren and the Gilaspecht, hammering its nests in the trunk of the Saguaros. There are tiny hummingbirds and Roadrunner that actually run better than can fly. Among the more exotic inhabitants of the area include the California tortoise, the desert iguana, the poisonous Gila Monster, several species of rattlesnakes and the Arizona coral snake and tarantulas and scorpions.