Preserving the Amazon’s Species
How should the resources of the rainforest be used and preserved?
How can we preserve the lives of animals in the Amazon Rainforest?
The Amazon Rainforest, located in South America, is a wonderful place. It is filled with
many exotic plants, species, and weather. A rainforest is a huge forest with a heavy amount of
rain every year. The Amazon Rainforest gets its name from the Amazon River, which surrounds
it. It’s a very wet place and gets nine feet of rain every year! But every day in the Amazon
Rainforest, you can hear a large cracking sound as a tree falls and the cries of the animals that
resided in it. When trees are felled, or downed, the homes of animals are destroyed.
About the Amazon
The Amazon Rainforest has four layers. The top layer is called the emergent layer. The
emergent layer is home to mostly monkeys, eagles, and bats. The layer directly below that is
called the canopy. The canopy is the home of animals such as toucans, tree frogs, and snakes.
The understory layer is below this, and jaguars and leopards occupy this layer. The forest floor is
below this, and residing in this layer is mostly insect specimens.
Danger for the Habitants
The Amazon Rainforest was a major problem many years ago. During the 1980’s, you
couldn’t turn on a television without seeing horrible images of the rainforest and a newscaster
pleading the public to protect it. After that horrible time ended, most people assumed that the
Amazon Rainforest’s problems were over. But this is not the case. In fact, experts predict that at
least 100 species will be lost in the future.
There are many ways that the lives of animals are being lost in the Amazon Rainforest.
For example, the jaguar is in danger of becoming extinct. Hunting and habitat loss is slowly
decreasing their number in the wild. People assume that since jaguars have been around for so
long, they’re everlasting. But their amount in the wild is about 15,000 now. That number is going
down every day. Another example is the scarlet macaw. They have very bright feathers and are
highly intelligent. They’d make a great pet, wouldn’t they? Unfortunately, that is why they’re in
danger of becoming extinct. They are often sold illegally on the black market. Organizations
such as the WWF, or World Wildlife Foundation, are doing everything they can to protect them,
but experts are unsure it will be enough.
Then there is the howler monkey. It is endangered because of destruction of habitat and
natural disasters. The howler monkey is known to stay in trees, as it hates to be on the ground. It
is, however, being protected by various organizations. Destruction of habitat is a major problem
in the Amazon Rainforest. It is the number one leading cause of animals becoming extinct.
Natural disasters cannot be avoided, but they are also a major cause of animals becoming extinct.
The Tapir is a very ancient mammal. It has an elephant trunk. The reason they are at risk of
becoming extinct is that they have a low rate of reproduction and are hunted for food because
they are big, putting them at risk of extinction. Many animals are hunted for food, which is also a
major problem in the Amazon Rainforest.
Three-toed sloths are endangered because their homes are being destroyed to make
charcoal and harvest wood and for farming land. This is the same for the Poison Dart Frog.
When animals’ homes are destroyed, they have no place to go. There probably isn’t a single
species in the Amazon Rainforest that hasn’t faced a problem. Too many species are being
destroyed, whether it’s because of habitat loss, illegally hunting, or illegal trade. Something has
to be done.
What People Are Doing
Many species are already extinct. The Alagoas Curassow (Mitu mitu) was last sighted in
the wild in the late 1980’s. The rainforest’s species are becoming extinct so rapidly that some
people don’t even realize it is happening. Dozens of species become extinct every day. It can
only be compared to the extinction of dinosaurs many years ago. The past forty years have
observed almost twenty percent of the rainforest being cut down…and the species disappearing
with it. Only a few organizations are taking action to protect the rainforest. Amazon Cares is
doing ongoing projects to save the rainforest and its animals. The World Wildlife Foundation is
probably the most active, raising a lot of money a year through donations. You can even “adopt
an animal” through their website. They offer over a hundred different species and different
adoption packets. Mongabay.com raises awareness by running different articles about the
rainforest. Greenpeace.com also runs articles and offers a place to donate money through the
website. Rainforest advocates and organizations are doing all they can, but will it be enough?
I believe that the Amazon Rainforest’s problems shouldn’t be taken lightly. It is a huge
forest that covers about 1.5 million square miles and holds 40,000 plant species, 1,294 birds, 427
mammals, 378 reptiles, and 428 amphibians to date. Its issues are very hard to ignore, and yet
some people are managing to completely erase it from their minds.
Ecotourism: The Solution?
Greenpeace.com suggests using ecotourism to draw public sympathy and awareness.
Ecotourism exists now, but is not managed very well. If we made it so that there was a minimal
affect on the environment, it could be a solution to the Amazon’s problems. I believe that what
the Amazon Rainforest really needs is awareness of the problems that its animals are facing, so I
believe this solution is best. Also, the money from ecotourism usually filters to the natives of the
rainforest, so they benefit from it as well. Most importantly, the species of the Amazon
Rainforest would not go unnoticed anymore.
The Anavilhanas Jungle Lodge, located in the Amazon Rainforest, also believes this. Its
website states, “The conscious tourism generates income, gives economic purpose to the
preservation of native wildlife, helps the control of public offices and encourages environmental
education among the native population and visitors.”
To start an ecotourism business, it’s best to first get knowledge of the surroundings of
your location. Tourists who come to the rainforest don’t just want to see the beauty of the
rainforest and the amazing animals in it – they want to know its history. They also want to know
about the natives and their culture, and the different animal species. That is the best thing about
ecotourism: often, the tourists who travel to the rainforest are genuinely interested in all the
aspects of the rainforest. If the tour guides take the time to make it a great experience for them,
they will keep thinking about the rainforest, its species, and the ways they can help. The more
people see how beautiful the rainforest is, the more upset they’ll be that it is rapidly
disappearing, and its animals along with it. They will want to donate money or have fundraisers
for the rainforest that they have come to love. Most people don’t care about the problems of the
Amazon because they have never been there and never really seen it. As they say, “out of sight,
out of mind.” If people were allowed to develop a personal bond with the rainforest, they would
want to do everything in their power to save it.
I think that preserving the lives of animals in the Amazon Rainforest is a huge issue and
should not be neglected. If we wait too long, there won’t be any animals left. I think that
ecotourism could solve this problem, because it raises awareness and money for the natives, so
they don’t have to cut down any trees to make money, which will cut down on the destruction of
animals’ homes. The more tourists that ecotourism managers can make concerned, the safer the
homes of animals will be, and the safer the rainforest will stay.
The Amazon Rainforest is in serious danger currently. Its species are disappearing
rapidly and people don’t know where to turn for help. Ecotourism could be a solution. But the
only way we can truly preserve the lives of animals in the Amazon Rainforest is by acting now.
We can’t waste another minute.