8 Amazon Rainforest Endangered Species

Golden Lion Tamarin

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There are numerous monkey species that are endemic to the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, one of which is the Golden Lion Tamarin. Its name, which interestingly was first coined by Madame de Pompadour in 1754, derives from its strikingly orange-coloured lion-like mane. The tamarin primarily lives in trees and forage for fruit, insects and even birds by traveling between branches. But deforestation to support the exponential growth of the logging and agriculture industries has destroyed the animal’s natural habitat. Today, only 2-3% od its original rainforest habitat remains, threatening the survival of the species. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) currently classifies the Golden Lion Tamarin as an endangered species. 

Jaguars

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The largest cat in the Americas, jaguars are one of the most iconic species in the Amazon currently threatened by the destruction of the ecosystem. These big cats are strong swimmers and climbers, and require large areas of tropical rainforest  and stretches of river bank to survive. They also hunt most animals in the Amazon ranging from deers, armadillos, monkeys and lizards, playing an important part in population control of other species. Habitat loss  – jaguar now occupy less than half of its historical range, growing conflict with farmers and ranchers, as well as climate change which has increased risk of wildfire and reduced water resources, has driven the animal to be an Amazon rainforest endangered species.

Amazon River Dolphin

Also known as the pink river dolphin, the animal lives only in freshwater and is found throughout the Amazon river basins in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, and Venezuela. Though the dolphin is protected in Brazil, its population continues to halve every decade  and is now a IUCN -listed endangered species as poachers persistently hunt them for their fatty blubber to be used as bait to catch a carnivorous catfish. In other parts of the Amazon, the dolphin faces increasing threats of water pollution as well as dam installations creating habitat fragmentation. As female river dolphins bear only a single calf every four to five years on average, population numbers can be slow and difficult to recover. 

Giant Otters

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As the name suggests, the giant otter is the largest species within the weasel family and are commonly spotted in the Peruvian portion of the Amazon rainforest, where they feed on fish and crustaceans. Much like most threatened species, habitat destruction and illegal hunting has driven its population to worryingly low numbers. The otters also face an additional threat of water contamination from mining and agricultural activities in the Amazon, and overfishing in their habitats. Though the species has been protected under Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITIES) since 1973,  given the large territory that this animal requires, its protection and conservation can be a complicated task. 

Uakari Monkey

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Another endangered monkey species on this list is the Uakari Monkey, an animal that is incredibly identifiable by its bright red face and bald head – not unlike an old man with a terrible sunburn. This particular primate was named after the Uakari tribe  that once lived in the Amazon but has now unfortunately become extinct. However, worrying trends show that the monkey is on track to follow its namesake as extensive deforestation has destroyed much of their natural habitat, making it difficult for the animal to forage and nest. Some of its populations have also been vulnerable to illegal hunting. Native to western Amazon rainforest, the Uakari Monkey plays an important role in seed dispersal and is particularly crucial for its ability to transport seeds at a greater distace than smaller animals.

Poison Dart Frogs

There are more than 100 species  of poison dart frogs, most of which live in the Amazon. Posison dart frogs are brightly coloured  – they can be yellow, copper, gold, red, blue, green, black or a combination of those colours – and notoriously poisonous where its striking hue helps warn off predators. They are also unique as they are active during the day, as opposed to being nocturnal like most frog species. The amphibian is terrestrial with a few arboreals, and loss of its habitats increasing food competition and risks of being preyed upon, causing these frogs to become move closer to extinction. Scientists also found chytridiomycosis, a bacterial disease found in amphibians, to have killed thousands of animals each year, which resulted in the extinction of some species.

South American Tapir

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The South American Tapir is a herbivorous mammal that is similar to a pig in shape, feeding primarily on clay licks. This animal is a keystone species for its role as a disperser and predator of tree seeds, supporting the diversity of forests and overall health of the ecosystem. But habitat loss from logging activities and deforestation have been the biggest threat to this species, along with illegal hunting and poaching, driving its population numbers to plummet. The tapir is currently facing extinction in Peru, while in the Argentina portion of the Amazon, tapir populations have declined by an estimated 60% within the last two centuries. Conservation efforts have struggled to help recover the species as they require extensive habitats, and many of its protected areas are surrounded by unprotected private lands. 

Hyacinth Macaw

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Também conhecido como Arara Azul e protagonista do filme  Rio , este papagaio surpreendentemente azul (e o maior papagaio voador do mundo) enfrenta ameaças e pressões crescentes à medida que seus habitats e recursos naturais continuam a diminuir devido ao desmatamento. Eles nidificam quase que exclusivamente em grandes cavidades de árvores antigas de Manduvi e historicamente foram amplamente espalhados pelo Brasil. Hoje, eles são encontrados principalmente em pequenos bolsões na Amazônia, principalmente no centro do Pará, onde as atividades humanas levaram à perda de 203.460 hectares de árvores somente em 2019. Além do desmatamento, o papagaio sofreu outras ameaças, como a caça furtiva por suas penas únicas e o comércio de animais exóticos e. Embora o animal ainda seja considerado apenas “vulnerável” pela IUCN, muitos ambientalistas acreditam que a espécie está à beira de se tornar ameaçada. 

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