Celebrating the beautiful, essential, and straight-up weird biodiversity of the Amazon.
The Amazon rainforest is the most biodiverse environment on Earth. The dense canopies of trees are home to a staggering 10% of the world’s species. And it’s not just plants and trees; one in five of the planet’s fish species swim through the Amazon’s rivers, and a fifth of all bird species also call the Amazon home.
In the Amazon, every square kilometer is so packed full of bizarre creatures that scientists are still constantly discovering them. On average, a new species is discovered in the Amazon every two days. Among this year’s coolest discoveries were six species of tentacle-faced fish in February, a white-tailed marmoset species in August, and the world’s most powerful electric eel in September.
Deforestation in the Amazon is rapidly threatening the existence of what is the largest collection of living plants and animals on the planet. As trees are razed to the ground to make way for cattle and soy plantations, some of the world’s most incredible species are finding themselves homeless. But by working to protect the Amazon’s remarkable forests, we can protect the weird, wonderful, and charismatic creatures that reside there.
The Cute, The Weird, and The Downright Freaky
From the forest floor to the tops of the 200 foot tall Sumaumeira trees, the Amazon is teeming with life, all intricately linked in a delicate balance. Millions of years of evolution has led to species so unique to the Amazon environment that just a slight change in habitat could cause them to go extinct. And what a loss it would be, because in the Amazon there’s no such thing as an ordinary species…
Take ants for example. We have ants in the United States, but the Amazon doesn’t just have ‘ants’. The Amazon is home to over 1,000 species of ant. Among them; trapdoor ants that resemble hammerhead sharks, Gigantiops destructor ants with enormous eyes and long legs, and leaf-cutter ants with underground nests spreading over 6,460 sq ft. that can strip a tree in 24 hours. Not to mention the fire ants, bullet ants, acrobat ants, turtle ants…
In the rivers that run like veins through the dense rainforest, Capybaras – the world’s biggest rodents – swim in the same waters as 10 foot long carnivorous Pirarucu fish that have teeth on their tongues. These rivers, at threat of destruction from mining and agricultural run-off, are the lifeblood of the Amazon. Downstream, you might encounter mystical pink dolphins that ‘blush’ even pinker when they’re excited, or perhaps giant otters bigger than the average US woman.
Up above, brightly colored toucans sleep in the canopy with their rainbow beaks tucked under their wings and hidden among the trees’ branches, chameleons change color to start a fight. Higher still, critically endangered sloths move slow enough that algae begins to grow on their fur, camouflaging them from predators like the harpy eagle, and its grizzly-bear sized talons.
Save their home, save their life
With so many different creatures to compete with, each species has carved out a delicately balanced role within the ecosystem, and each of these weird and wonderful species are uniquely adapted to their niche within the Amazon. As a result, a threat to their environment is a threat to their survival.
What this also means, is that when we make a pledge to protect the 12,000 different tree species that make up the Amazon, we’re making a pledge to protect the creatures that call it home.
We’ve started a campaign to protect the Amazon and push back against the big banks that are funding its destruction. For every person that joins our Amazon Uprising and signs our petition, we will protect another 10,000 square ft of Amazonian rainforest.
Together, we can protect our planet, and the creatures we share it with.