What is the Most Famous Desert in the World?

The world is home to many stunning deserts, each with its unique characteristics and features. Among these deserts, one stands out as the most famous in the world. This desert has been featured in countless books, movies, and television shows, and has captured the imagination of people around the globe. From its towering sand dunes to its eerie, otherworldly landscapes, this desert is a true marvel of nature. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or just a desert enthusiast, you won’t want to miss out on the chance to explore this amazing destination. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the most famous desert in the world and discover what makes it so special.

Quick Answer:
The most famous desert in the world is the Sahara Desert. It is located in North Africa and covers an area of approximately 9 million square miles. The Sahara is known for its vast expanse of sand and rock, as well as its extreme temperatures, which can reach over 120 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. Despite its harsh environment, the Sahara is home to a variety of unique plants and animals, including the iconic camel. The Sahara has also been an important part of human history, with various civilizations, including the ancient Egyptians, interacting with the desert and its inhabitants over the centuries.

The Sahara Desert

Location and Size

  • The Sahara Desert is situated in North Africa, covering an extensive area of the continent.
  • Its expanse spans across several countries, including Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Chad, Niger, Mali, Mauritania, and Morocco.
  • The desert’s vastness is remarkable, with an area of over 3.6 million square miles.
  • This makes it the largest desert in the world, encompassing an area larger than the size of the United States, Mexico, and much of Europe combined.
  • Its size is due to its unique geographical location, with its southern border located near the equator, and its northern reaches extending close to the Mediterranean Sea.
  • The Sahara’s size and location make it a fascinating and unique ecosystem, with a diverse range of landscapes, flora, and fauna that are adapted to the harsh desert conditions.
  • Despite its size, the Sahara is not a continuous body of sand, but rather a mosaic of different landscapes, including sand dunes, rocky plateaus, and gravel plains.
  • The desert’s size and complexity make it an important area for scientific study, with researchers seeking to understand its geological history, climate patterns, and the impact of human activity on the environment.
  • Overall, the Sahara’s location and size make it one of the most famous and iconic deserts in the world, and a place of fascination for scientists, explorers, and travelers alike.

Climate and Geography

The Sahara Desert is known for its hot and dry climate, with occasional sandstorms that can make travel difficult. The high temperatures and low humidity make it a challenging environment for those who live and work there. The terrain of the Sahara varies significantly, with sand dunes, rocky mountains, and valleys all present. This diverse landscape means that the desert is home to a wide range of plant and animal life, including some species that are found nowhere else in the world.

Wildlife and Vegetation

Limited Vegetation

The Sahara Desert is known for its harsh climate, which makes it difficult for vegetation to thrive. The limited vegetation that can be found in the desert is typically located near oases or along the fringes of the desert.

Adapted Animals

Despite the harsh conditions, the Sahara Desert is home to a variety of animals that have adapted to desert life. These include camels, which are able to store water in their humps and are well-suited to the desert’s extreme temperatures. Other desert-dwelling animals include lizards, insects, and various species of birds. These animals have developed unique adaptations that allow them to survive in the desert’s harsh environment, such as the ability to conserve water and regulate their body temperature.

Human Impact

The Sahara Desert, the largest desert in the world, has been inhabited by indigenous people for thousands of years. These people have adapted to the harsh conditions of the desert and have developed unique ways of life. The Sahara has also been an important trade route in ancient times, with caravans traveling across the desert to exchange goods and ideas.

However, the Sahara is facing current threats such as deforestation, overgrazing, and pollution. These threats are caused by human activities and are causing damage to the delicate ecosystem of the desert. Deforestation is a major problem, as it is leading to the loss of habitats for many species, including the iconic camel. Overgrazing is also a major issue, as it is leading to soil erosion and the degradation of the desert landscape. Pollution is another threat, as it is caused by the use of fossil fuels and is leading to the degradation of the air quality in the region.

The impact of human activities on the Sahara Desert is significant and far-reaching. It is important for the global community to take action to address these threats and to protect this unique and important ecosystem.

The Mojave Desert

Key takeaway: The Sahara Desert is the largest desert in the world, spanning across several countries in North Africa and covering an area of over 3.6 million square miles. It is known for its diverse landscapes, harsh climate, and unique ecosystem that is home to a range of plant and animal life. The impact of human activities on the Sahara Desert is significant and far-reaching, with threats such as deforestation, overgrazing, and pollution causing damage to the delicate ecosystem. The Mojave Desert is one of the largest deserts in North America, located in southern California and parts of Nevada, Utah, and Arizona. It is known for its diverse terrain, hot and dry climate, and unique geographic features. The Mojave Desert is home to a diverse range of plant and animal life that have adapted to the harsh desert environment. It has a long and intricate history of human interaction, including Native American tribes who lived off the land and used its resources for survival. The Mojave Desert is also an important location for military training and aerospace exploration. The Gobi Desert is the fifth largest desert in the world, located in Central Asia and spanning across southern Mongolia and parts of China and Russia. It is known for its cold and dry climate, sand dunes, rocky mountains, and grasslands. The Gobi Desert is home to a variety of unique flora and fauna, including camels, Bactrian and Mongolian wild donkeys, and the critically endangered Gobi bear. The Namib Desert is located in southern Africa and is one of the oldest deserts in the world, known for its hot and dry climate, varied terrain, and stunning landscapes. It is home to adapted desert plants and animals, including the oryx, springbok, and ostriches. The Antarctic Desert is situated in the continent of Antarctica and is characterized by its extremely cold and harsh climate, with temperatures that can drop below -10 degrees Fahrenheit in some areas. It is home to a variety of unique plant and animal species, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. The impact of human activities on the Antarctic Desert includes scientific research and international cooperation and conservation efforts, but it still faces threats such as pollution, overfishing, and habitat destruction.

The Mojave Desert is a unique and diverse ecosystem that spans across southern California and parts of Nevada, Utah, and Arizona. With an area of over 30,000 square miles, it is one of the largest deserts in North America. Its location makes it an important landmark for travelers and adventurers alike, as it is situated near major highways and popular tourist destinations. The desert’s diverse terrain, ranging from rocky mountains to sandy dunes, provides a fascinating landscape for exploration and scientific study. The Mojave Desert’s distinct characteristics, such as its diverse plant and animal life, make it a fascinating and intriguing ecosystem to study.

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The Mojave Desert is a fascinating ecosystem that boasts a diverse range of climatic and geographic features. This desert is known for its hot and dry conditions, with occasional rainfall that supports a unique range of plant and animal life. The terrain of the Mojave Desert is varied, featuring sand dunes, rock formations, and valleys that provide a striking contrast to the barren expanses of sand and stone.

One of the most notable features of the Mojave Desert is its extreme temperatures. During the summer months, temperatures can soar to over 120 degrees Fahrenheit, making it one of the hottest places in North America. In fact, Death Valley, which is located within the Mojave Desert, holds the record for the highest recorded temperature on Earth, with a reading of 134 degrees Fahrenheit.

The geography of the Mojave Desert is equally impressive, with its diverse range of landforms. The desert is home to towering sand dunes that rise up to 700 feet high, creating a dramatic landscape that is unique to this region. In addition to the sand dunes, the Mojave Desert is also home to towering rock formations, such as the famous Devil’s Playground, which features a maze of towering rock pillars that rise up from the desert floor.

The Mojave Desert is also characterized by its numerous valleys, which provide a stark contrast to the barren expanses of sand and stone. These valleys are often lush with vegetation, including Joshua trees, creosote bushes, and mesquite trees, which provide important habitat for a range of plant and animal species.

Overall, the Mojave Desert is a fascinating ecosystem that is characterized by its hot and dry climate, varied terrain, and unique geographic features. Whether you are a scientist, a nature lover, or simply someone who enjoys exploring the natural world, the Mojave Desert is a must-see destination that is sure to leave a lasting impression.

The Mojave Desert is home to a diverse range of wildlife and vegetation that have adapted to the harsh desert environment. The desert plants are known for their ability to conserve water and thrive in the arid climate. Some of the most common desert plants found in the Mojave Desert include cacti and yucca. These plants have developed specialized features such as spines, thick skin, and deep roots to help them survive in the desert.

The Mojave Desert is also home to a variety of wildlife, including bighorn sheep, coyotes, and rattlesnakes. These animals have evolved unique adaptations to help them survive in the desert environment. For example, bighorn sheep have large, curved horns that they use to defend themselves from predators, while coyotes have learned to hunt in packs to increase their chances of success. Rattlesnakes, on the other hand, have developed venomous fangs and a highly efficient metabolism to help them survive in the harsh desert climate.

Overall, the Mojave Desert is a unique and fascinating ecosystem that is home to a diverse range of plant and animal life. The ability of these organisms to adapt to the harsh desert environment is a testament to their resilience and ability to thrive in challenging conditions.

The Mojave Desert, situated in the southeastern part of California and the southwestern part of Nevada, has a long and intricate history of human interaction. The region has been inhabited by Native American tribes for thousands of years, who have left behind a rich cultural heritage that is still evident today.

Inhabited by Native American Tribes

The Mojave Desert was home to various Native American tribes, including the Chemehuevi, Serrano, and Shoshone, among others. These tribes lived off the land, relying on its natural resources for survival. They hunted and gathered food, while also cultivating crops such as corn, beans, and squash in areas with limited rainfall.

The Native American tribes also had a deep spiritual connection with the land, using the desert’s unique features and resources for religious and ceremonial purposes. For example, the Joshua Tree, a distinctive plant species found in the Mojave Desert, was considered sacred by many tribes and played a significant role in their belief systems.

Important Location for Military Training and Aerospace Exploration

In addition to its cultural significance, the Mojave Desert has also played a crucial role in modern American history as an important location for military training and aerospace exploration. The United States Air Force has maintained a significant presence in the region since the 1940s, with several military bases and training facilities located within the desert.

These facilities have been instrumental in the development of advanced aerospace technologies, including space exploration and the testing of aircraft and missile systems. The Mojave Desert’s vast expanse and remote location make it an ideal location for such activities, allowing for the safe and controlled testing of new technologies without interference from urban areas.

Threats

Despite its historical and cultural significance, the Mojave Desert faces numerous threats from human activities. Mining operations, particularly for minerals such as gold and silver, have led to environmental degradation and disruption of the desert ecosystem. Off-road vehicle use has also caused damage to the desert landscape, while urbanization and population growth in surrounding areas threaten to encroach upon the desert’s natural habitat.

Conservation efforts are underway to protect the Mojave Desert and its unique ecosystem, including the establishment of national parks and protected areas. However, the balance between human activities and environmental preservation remains a significant challenge, highlighting the need for responsible stewardship of this remarkable desert region.

The Gobi Desert

The Gobi Desert is a vast expanse of dry, barren land that spans across southern Mongolia and parts of China and Russia. It is the fifth largest desert in the world, covering an area of over 500,000 square miles.

The Gobi Desert is situated in the arid region of Central Asia, and its name is derived from the Mongolian word “Gobi,” which means “desert.” It is bordered by the Altai Mountains to the west, the Khangai Mountains to the south, and the Yenisei River to the east.

The desert’s size and shape are influenced by several geographical factors, including tectonic plate movement, climate change, and erosion. The Gobi Desert is also home to a variety of unique flora and fauna, including camels, Bactrian and Mongolian wild donkeys, and the critically endangered Gobi bear.

Overall, the Gobi Desert’s location and size make it a fascinating and unique ecosystem that has captivated the imaginations of explorers and adventurers for centuries.

The Gobi Desert is known for its cold and dry climate, with occasional snowstorms. This desert is located in Asia, and its terrain varies significantly, ranging from sand dunes to rocky mountains and grasslands. One of the most notable features of the Gobi Desert is the presence of the world’s largest sand dunes at Khongoryn Els.

Sand Dunes

The Gobi Desert is home to some of the world’s most impressive sand dunes, including the aforementioned Khongoryn Els. These dunes are formed by the wind, which carries sand particles and deposits them in a particular direction. Over time, the wind continues to blow the sand, creating massive dunes that can reach heights of up to 1,000 feet.

Rocky Mountains

In addition to sand dunes, the Gobi Desert also features a number of rocky mountains. These mountains are made up of limestone and granite, and they offer a stark contrast to the surrounding desert landscape. Some of the most notable rocky mountains in the Gobi Desert include the Bayan Obo Mountains and the Khangai Mountains.

Grasslands

The Gobi Desert is not entirely devoid of vegetation. In fact, there are areas of the desert where grasslands can be found. These grasslands are typically located in the lower-lying areas of the desert, where there is more moisture available. The grasslands are home to a variety of wildlife, including gazelles, camels, and wolves.

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Climate

The Gobi Desert is known for its extreme climate, with scorching hot days and freezing cold nights. During the summer months, temperatures can reach as high as 122 degrees Fahrenheit, while during the winter months, temperatures can drop below freezing. The desert is also known for its frequent sandstorms, which can last for several days at a time and create significant challenges for those attempting to traverse the area.

The Gobi Desert is known for its harsh climate, which has resulted in limited vegetation in the area. The desert’s extreme temperatures, strong winds, and low precipitation levels have made it difficult for plants to thrive. As a result, the vegetation in the Gobi Desert is sparse and consists mainly of small shrubs, grasses, and some hardy trees that are adapted to the harsh conditions.

Animals Adapted to Desert Life

The Gobi Desert is home to a variety of animals that have adapted to the harsh desert environment. These animals have developed unique ways to survive in the desert, such as by storing water, regulating their body temperature, and having specialized physical features. Some of the animals that can be found in the Gobi Desert include camels, foxes, and wolves.

Camels

Camels are well-suited to life in the desert due to their unique physical features. They have long legs that help them to walk easily over the sand, and they can store water in their hump, which allows them to go without drinking for long periods. Camels are also able to regulate their body temperature, which helps them to survive in the extreme heat of the desert.

Foxes and Wolves

Foxes and wolves are also adapted to life in the desert. They have thick fur that helps to insulate them from the cold temperatures at night, and they are able to regulate their body temperature by panting and using their feet to cool down. These animals are also skilled hunters, able to track their prey across the sand and survive on a diet of small animals and plants.

Overall, the Gobi Desert is home to a diverse range of animals that have adapted to the harsh desert environment. From camels to foxes and wolves, these animals have developed unique ways to survive in the desert, making them an integral part of the desert ecosystem.

Inhabited by nomadic tribes for thousands of years

The Gobi Desert has been inhabited by nomadic tribes for thousands of years, who have adapted to the harsh conditions of the desert and have developed unique ways of survival. These tribes have lived off the land, herding livestock and hunting wild animals, and have developed a deep understanding of the desert’s natural resources and ecosystem.

Important location for trade and exploration throughout history

The Gobi Desert has also been an important location for trade and exploration throughout history. The Silk Road, a ancient trade route that connected China to the Mediterranean, passed through the Gobi Desert, making it a vital hub for commerce and cultural exchange. Many explorers and traders have traveled through the desert, leaving behind a rich legacy of artifacts and historical sites.

Current threats include mining, deforestation, and poaching

Despite its rich history and cultural significance, the Gobi Desert is currently facing numerous threats. Mining operations are destroying the fragile desert ecosystem and causing environmental damage. Deforestation is also a major concern, as the loss of vegetation is leading to soil erosion and desertification. Poaching is also a problem, as the demand for rare animals and their byproducts is driving the illegal trade of wildlife.

The Namib Desert

The Namib Desert is located in southern Africa, and it borders the Atlantic Ocean. This desert spans over 1,200 miles in length and can reach up to 70 miles in width. The Namib Desert is one of the oldest deserts in the world, with a history dating back over 55 million years. Its location along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean provides unique geographical features that set it apart from other deserts around the world.

The Namib Desert is one of the most famous deserts in the world, and it is known for its hot and dry climate. The desert is located in southwestern Africa, and it stretches for over 1,200 miles along the Atlantic coast of Angola, Namibia, and South Africa.

The climate of the Namib Desert is characterized by high temperatures and low humidity. The average temperature in the desert ranges from 75°F to 95°F, and it can get even hotter during the summer months. The desert is also known for its occasional fog and rain, which provides a unique and surreal landscape.

The terrain of the Namib Desert varies greatly, with sand dunes, rocky mountains, and coastal plains. The desert is home to the highest sand dunes in the world, which can reach up to 1,000 feet tall at Sossusvlei. The sand dunes are a popular tourist destination and provide a stunning backdrop for photography and exploration.

Overall, the Namib Desert is a fascinating and unique desert that is known for its hot and dry climate, varied terrain, and stunning landscapes.

Adapted Desert Plants

The Namib Desert is home to a variety of adapted desert plants that have evolved to survive in the harsh conditions of the desert. One of the most well-known adapted desert plants is the succulent, which is able to store water in its leaves, stems, or roots to help it survive long periods of drought. Cacti are also commonly found in the Namib Desert, with over 200 species of cacti adapted to the arid environment.

Animals

The Namib Desert is home to a diverse range of animals, including the oryx, springbok, and ostriches. These animals have adapted to the harsh conditions of the desert by developing specialized physical and behavioral adaptations. For example, the oryx has a hump on its back that stores water, while the springbok is able to leap high into the air to escape predators. The ostrich, with its long legs, is able to outrun most predators in the desert.

Inhabited by Indigenous People for Thousands of Years

The Namib Desert has been inhabited by indigenous people for thousands of years. The San people, also known as the Bushmen, have lived in the region for at least 10,000 years, relying on the land for sustenance and cultural practices. The Khoekhoe people also inhabited the area, herding livestock and trading with neighboring groups. These indigenous people have adapted to the harsh desert environment, developing techniques for obtaining water and finding food sources.

Important Location for Mining and Tourism

The Namib Desert is also an important location for mining and tourism. The desert is home to valuable minerals such as diamonds, copper, and gold, which have been mined since the 19th century. Mining has had a significant impact on the environment, including soil erosion, air pollution, and water pollution. The industry has also led to displacement of indigenous communities and labor exploitation.

Tourism is another important industry in the Namib Desert, attracting visitors from around the world to its unique landscapes and wildlife. The desert is home to the highest sand dunes in the world, the Skeleton Coast, and the eerie shipwrecks that line its shores. Tourists can also witness the unique plant and animal species that have adapted to the harsh desert environment. However, tourism can also have negative impacts on the environment, including habitat destruction and disturbance of wildlife.

Threats Include Overgrazing, Poaching, and Habitat Destruction

Despite its natural beauty and cultural significance, the Namib Desert faces several threats. Overgrazing by livestock can lead to soil erosion and habitat destruction, threatening the delicate balance of the ecosystem. Poaching of wildlife, particularly for the illegal trade in rhino horns and other wildlife products, is also a major concern. Climate change is also affecting the desert, with rising temperatures and decreasing rainfall leading to more frequent droughts and wildfires. Finally, human encroachment and development in the region can lead to habitat destruction and fragmentation, further threatening the desert’s unique species and ecosystems.

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The Antarctic Desert

The Antarctic Desert is situated in the continent of Antarctica, which is the fifth largest continent in the world. It covers an area of approximately 5,500,000 square miles, making it one of the largest deserts in the world. The desert is characterized by its extremely cold and harsh climate, with temperatures that can drop below -100 degrees Fahrenheit in some areas. The desert is also home to a variety of unique plant and animal species, many of which are found nowhere else in the world.

The Antarctic Desert is one of the most unique deserts in the world, with a climate and geography that sets it apart from other deserts. The climate is cold and dry, with occasional snowstorms that can last for several days. This harsh weather makes it difficult for any vegetation to grow, and as a result, the desert is almost entirely devoid of life.

The terrain of the Antarctic Desert varies significantly, with ice sheets, mountains, and valleys all present. The ice sheets are the most prominent feature of the desert, covering much of the landscape and reaching heights of up to 1,000 meters. The mountains are also a significant feature, with many peaks reaching over 3,000 meters in height. The valleys are typically narrower and shallower than those found in other deserts, but they provide important habitats for some of the few organisms that can survive in the harsh conditions.

One of the most famous landmarks in the Antarctic Desert is the South Pole, which is located in the middle of the ice sheet. The South Pole is an important scientific research site, with many countries operating research stations in the area. These stations are used to study a range of topics, including climate change, astronomy, and the Earth’s magnetic field. The researchers who work at these stations face a unique set of challenges, including extreme cold temperatures, high winds, and long periods of isolation.

  • Limited vegetation due to harsh climate
    • The Antarctic Desert is known for its extremely cold and dry conditions, which make it difficult for vegetation to thrive.
  • Animals adapted to cold and dry conditions such as penguins, seals, and whales
    • Despite the harsh environment, the Antarctic Desert is home to a diverse range of animals that have adapted to the cold and dry conditions.
      • Penguins are one of the most iconic species found in the Antarctic Desert. They are well-suited to the cold and dry conditions, with a thick layer of feathers that helps to keep them warm and a streamlined body that allows them to move efficiently through the water.
      • Seals are also common in the Antarctic Desert. They have a thick layer of blubber that helps to keep them warm in the cold water, and they are able to dive for long periods of time to hunt for food.
      • Whales are another group of animals that are well-adapted to the conditions in the Antarctic Desert. They are able to hold their breath for long periods of time and are able to swim at great depths to find food. Overall, the Antarctic Desert is an incredibly harsh environment, but it is home to a diverse range of animals that have evolved to thrive in this challenging environment.

The Antarctic Desert is a unique ecosystem that is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. However, the presence of humans in this region has had a significant impact on the environment.

  • Inhabited by researchers and scientists studying climate change and wildlife:
    • The Antarctic Desert is a critical location for scientific research. Many scientists and researchers from around the world travel to this region to study the effects of climate change on the environment. They also study the unique flora and fauna that thrive in this harsh environment.
    • The research conducted in the Antarctic Desert is crucial for understanding the global climate and its impact on the environment. The data collected by scientists is used to inform policy decisions and develop strategies to mitigate the effects of climate change.
  • Important location for international cooperation and conservation efforts:
    • The Antarctic Desert is a region of global significance and is subject to international cooperation and conservation efforts. The region is protected by the Antarctic Treaty, which was signed by over 50 countries in 1959. The treaty aims to ensure the preservation of the region’s unique environment and to promote international cooperation in scientific research.
    • The treaty has been successful in preventing the exploitation of the region’s resources, including fishing and mining. It has also established a system of protected areas and regulations to prevent environmental damage.
  • Threats include pollution, overfishing, and habitat destruction:
    • Despite the efforts of the international community, the Antarctic Desert is still facing several threats. One of the most significant threats is pollution. The region is subject to pollution from human activities, including shipping and aircraft emissions. This pollution can have a detrimental impact on the environment and the unique species that inhabit the region.
    • Overfishing is another threat to the Antarctic Desert. The region is home to a diverse range of fish species, many of which are highly prized by fishermen. However, overfishing can lead to the depletion of fish stocks and can have a significant impact on the ecosystem.
    • Habitat destruction is also a concern in the Antarctic Desert. The region is home to many unique species, including penguins, seals, and whales. However, human activities such as fishing and shipping can damage the habitats of these species, leading to declines in population numbers.

FAQs

1. What is the most famous desert in the world?

The most famous desert in the world is the Sahara Desert. It is located in North Africa and covers an area of approximately 9 million square miles. The Sahara is known for its vast expanse of sand, rocky terrain, and extreme temperatures. It is also home to many unique plant and animal species.

2. What is the largest desert in the world?

The largest desert in the world is the Antarctic Desert. It covers an area of approximately 5.5 million square miles and is located in Antarctica. The Antarctic Desert is unique because it is the driest desert in the world, with an average annual precipitation of only 2 inches. It is also home to many unique plant and animal species, including penguins and seals.

3. What is the hottest desert in the world?

The hottest desert in the world is the Death Valley Desert in California, USA. It is known for its extremely high temperatures, which can reach up to 134 degrees Fahrenheit. The Death Valley Desert is also known for its unique geological features, such as sand dunes and salt flats.

4. What is the coldest desert in the world?

The coldest desert in the world is the Gobi Desert in Asia. It is located in Mongolia and China and covers an area of approximately 500,000 square miles. The Gobi Desert is known for its extreme cold temperatures, which can drop below -40 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter. It is also home to many unique plant and animal species, including camels and snow leopards.

5. What is the driest desert in the world?

The driest desert in the world is the Atacama Desert in South America. It is located in Chile and covers an area of approximately 60,000 square miles. The Atacama Desert is known for its extreme dryness, with some areas receiving no rainfall at all for years at a time. It is also home to many unique plant and animal species, including cacti and flamingos.