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50 endangered species that only live in the Amazon rainforest

  • 50 endangered species that only live in the Amazon rainforest

    Calling the Amazon rainforest “the lungs of the planet” may appear melodramatic, but it holds some truth: As the largest tropical forest on Earth, the Amazon spans eight countries and 1.4 billion acres. If placed over the United States, the Amazon would stretch from western Pennsylvania to eastern California and from Canada to Mexico. The forest is one of our largest terrestrial carbon sinks, meaning its trees store carbon dioxide that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas. 2019 reports estimate that the Amazon absorbs about 5% of all the carbon dioxide released each year.

    And, this past year, these “lungs” caught fire. More than 74,000 wildfires have blazed across Brazil in the summer of 2019 alone, with about 40,000 of those fires threatening the Amazon. This is the highest rate of fires since Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research began collecting such data, and an 80% increase from summer 2018.

    2019’s fires have been tied to Jair Bolsonaro, a climate change-denying populist and Brazil’s president as of January 2019. Bolsonaro’s changing policies have allowed rampant burning of land around the rainforest to clear land for agriculture; these fires spread easily to the forest itself. The three Brazilian states with the worst increase in fire in 2019 have local governments led by Bolsonaro’s allies, and his government intends to prevent conservation in the rainforest, according to reporting from The Atlantic's Robinson Meyer. Bolsonaro authorized the Brazilian military to fight the fires late in August, but people around the world continue to criticize his role in the environmental catastrophe.

    These fires not only pose a threat to a major source of our oxygen; they also threaten approximately one-tenth of the known species on Earth. The Amazon is home to 40,000 plants, 3,000 freshwater fish, hundreds of reptiles, thousands of birds and butterflies, and mammals such as jaguars, sloths, and Amazon river dolphins, according to the World Wildlife Foundation—and that’s just the species we’ve discovered. The forest is also home to more than 30 million people, including hundreds of indigenous groups, many of whom protested President Bolsonaro for his policies. Meanwhile, organizations around the world such as the Rainforest Action Network, Rainforest Foundation, and Amazon Watch are continuing to work to preserve this habitat.

    To explore some of the incredible life threatened by these fires, Stacker used 2020 data from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List to identify 50 endangered animal and plant species that live only in the Amazon rainforest and the surrounding Amazon basin. Each species on this list is marked by the IUCN as vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered according to the most recent data available for that species.

    Read on to learn about and see incredible photos of rare species from the white-bellied spider monkey to the yellow-spotted river turtle.

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  • Glaucous macaw

    - Scientific name: Anodorhynchus glaucus
    - Red List status: Critically endangered
    - Geographic range: Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay
    - Threatened by: Residential & commercial development, agriculture & aquaculture, biological resource use
    - Current conservation efforts: Conservation sites identified
    - Citation: BirdLife International 2016. Anodorhynchus glaucus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22685527A93078084.

  • Brumback's night monkey

    - Scientific name: Aotus brumbacki
    - Red List status: Vulnerable
    - Geographic range: Colombia
    - Threatened by: Residential & commercial development, agriculture & aquaculture, biological resource use
    - Current conservation efforts: Occurs in at least one protected area, included in international legislation, subject to international management / trade controls
    - Citation: Morales-Jiménez, A.L., Link, A. & Stevenson, P. 2008. Aotus brumbacki. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T39915A10284518.

  • Nancy Ma’s night monkey

    - Scientific name: Aotus nancymaae
    - Red List status: Vulnerable
    - Geographic range: Brazil (Amazonas), Colombia, Peru
    - Threatened by: Agriculture & aquaculture, biological resource use
    - Current conservation efforts: Occurs in at least one protected area, included in international legislation, subject to international management / trade controls
    - Citation: Maldonado, A., Guzman-Caro, D., Shanee, S., Defler, T.R. & Roncancio, N. 2017. Aotus nancymaae (amended version of 2017 assessment). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T41540A121725532.

  • Blue-throated macaw

    - Scientific name: Ara glaucogularis
    - Red List status: Critically endangered
    - Geographic range: Bolivia
    - Threatened by: Biological resource use, natural system modifications, invasive & other problematic species/genes/diseases, climate change & severe weather
    - Current conservation efforts: Action recovery plan, conservation sites identified, subject to ex-situ conservation, education & awareness programs, subject to international management/trade controls
    - Citation: BirdLife International 2018. Ara glaucogularis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T22685542A130868462.

  • White-bellied spider monkey

    - Scientific name: Ateles belzebuth
    - Red List status: Endangered
    - Geographic range: Brazil (Roraima, Amazonas), Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela
    - Threatened by: Residential & commercial development, agriculture & aquaculture, energy production & mining, biological resource use, natural system modifications
    - Current conservation efforts: Conservation sites identified, subject to education & awareness programs, included in international legislation, subject to any international management/trade controls
    - Citation: Link, A., Muniz, C., Rylands, A.B., Mourthé, Í., Cornejo, F.M., Urbani, B., Mittermeier, R.A., Stevenson, P.R., Palacios, E., Boubli, J., Shanee, S., de la Torre, S. & Moscoso, P. 2019. Ateles belzebuth. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019: e.T2276A17928557.

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  • Variegated spider monkey

    - Scientific name: Ateles hybridus
    - Red List status: Critically endangered
    - Geographic range: Colombia, Venezuela
    - Threatened by: Residential & commercial development, agriculture & aquaculture, transportation & service corridors, biological resource use
    - Current conservation efforts: Occurs in at least one protected area, subject to ex-situ conservation
    - Citation: Urbani, B., Morales, A. L., Link, A. & Stevenson, P. 2008. Ateles hybridus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T39961A10280054.

  • White-cheeked spider monkey

    - Scientific name: Ateles marginatus
    - Red List status: Endangered
    - Geographic range: Brazil (Mato Grosso, Pará)
    - Threatened by: Residential & commercial development, agriculture & aquaculture, transportation & service corridors, biological resource use
    - Current conservation efforts: Occurs in at least one protected area, included in international legislation, subject to international management / trade controls
    - Citation: Mittermeier, R.A., Boubli, J. & Di Fiore, A. 2019. Ateles marginatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019: e.T2282A17929907.

  • Guiana spider monkey

    - Scientific name: Ateles paniscus
    - Red List status: Vulnerable
    - Geographic range: Brazil (Roraima, Amapá, Pará), French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname
    - Threatened by: Agriculture & aquaculture, biological resource use
    - Current conservation efforts: Occurs in at least one protected area, included in international legislation, subject to international management / trade controls
    - Citation: Mittermeier, R.A., Rylands, A.B. & Boubli, J. 2019. Ateles paniscus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019: e.T2283A17929494.

  • Carabaya stubfoot toad

    - Scientific name: Atelopus erythropus
    - Red List status: Critically endangered
    - Geographic range: Bolivia
    - Threatened by: Invasive & other problematic species/genes/diseases
    - Current conservation efforts: Occurs in at least one protected area
    - Citation: IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2018. Atelopus erythropus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T54506A89196113.

  • Morona-Santiago stubfoot toad

    - Scientific name: Atelopus halihelos
    - Red List status: Critically endangered
    - Geographic range: Ecuador
    - Threatened by: Agriculture & aquaculture, biological resource use, invasive & other problematic species/genes/diseases
    - Current conservation efforts: Occurs in at least one protected area
    - Citation: IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2018. Atelopus halihelos. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T54517A98641706.

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