Peru is known for its unique history and vast rainforest. The Amazon Basin runs down the eastern border of Peru, with the Peruvian Amazon area of the Amazon jungle, east of the Andes to borders with Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil and Bolivia. The Peruvian Amazon is the second largest jungle next to the Brazilian Amazon, and comprises 60% of the country. The Amazon represents over half of the planet’s remaining rainforests, and it homes the largest and most varied species of tropical rainforests in the world.
We are currently in danger of losing one of the planets greatest biological treasures – big ugh! The rainforests once covered 14% of the earth’s land surface; it now only covers a mere 6%. If we don’t do something soon to aggressively stop the deforestation of the rainforests, almost half the world’s species of plants, animals and microorganism will be severely threatened and destroyed over 40 years.
It’s estimated that we are losing 137 plant, animal, and insect species every single day due to rainforest deforestation – about 50,000 species a year. And if people think this doesn’t affect them directly – think again! Many life threatening cures for human diseases have been or could be from rainforest plant-derived sources.
Getting to know some of the threatened animals personally helps us understand why we must protect the rainforests and the inhabitant species immediately! The following are just a few of Peru’s endangered animals’ background stories:
The Condor is such a majestic and admired bird, that major Hollywood movies and literary books have often used this large bird’s imagery as a muse. The Condor; with the largest wing areas of any bird in the world (size relative to a 6-ft (2-m) man), might soon be grounded due to its low reproductive rate, it’s believed medicinal properties, lack of supply of food, and inability to adapt to air, water, and soil pollution. Let’s help the Condor soar!
Andean Mountain Cat
Found in the high altitudes of the Andes Mountains, the Andean Mountain Cat resembles (but doesn’t act like) your typical house cat. The only real noticeable different is the elongated tail and soft, thick fur. Unlike the average feline this species of wild cat is critically endangered, mostly because humans use in ritual ceremonies, causing this shy cat’s purr close to being silenced, when it should be roaring.
Yellow Tailed Wolly Monkey
These monkeys are found in the Peruvian Andes at elevations of 4,900 to 8,900 feet and only 250 are left in the wild, and considered one of the world’s 25 most endangered primates. The monkey business of economic development, logging, agriculture, and mining is largely to blame for destroying the habitat of the Yellow Tailed Wolly Monkey and making them extinct. Monkey see, monkey do – help the Yellow Tailed Wolly Monkey get back into the swing of things!
The Giant Otter
The Giant Otter – ‘oughta’ be saved! Their thick, shiny and dense fur make them prime pelts for poachers, and easy to hunt as they are extremely social, highly inquisitive and active throughout the day. There are an estimated 2,000 to 5,000 Great Otters (also known as River Wolf or Water Dog) left because of hunting and expansive habitat destruction.
The Military Macaw
A large parrot and a medium-sized member of the macaw genus, it is considered one of the rainforest’s most vulnerable as a wild species, found primarily in South America, particularly Peru. There are less than 10,000 alive globally because of rampant deforestation and capturing wild birds for the pet trade industry. Salute The Military Macaw and give this colorful bird it’s ‘kraa-aak’ cry back!
Ways To Visit And Help The Rainforest
If you’d like to get actively involved by visiting the Peruvian Amazon, there are eco-friendly ways to travel! Wild Planet Adventures provides travelers various environments to explore; cruise on the rivers, stay in jungle lodges and explore the rainforest. Eco-tourists seeking more remote primary rainforest can seek out the southern Amazon basin, home to Tambopata Wildlife Reserve and Manu National Park. This area is ideal for wildlife and nature lovers to personally get in touch with the rich rainforest beauty in desperate need of saving!
For more Information visit: wildplanetadventures.com
The Manu National Park – Tambopata National Reserve
The Manu National Park, Tambopata National Reserve has been the subject of many TV documentaries, and boasts one of the world’s largest macaw and mammal’s clay-lick (a place where many animal species congregate to eat mineral rich soil), layers of plant life, millions of insects and animals, all located in the warm and humid climate of Tambopata. The 3.7 million-acre Manu National Park was formed in 1973.
The Tambopata National Reserve protects a plethora of landscapes and wildlife, including pristine oxbow lakes with herons, kingfishers, caimans and giant otters. Visitors can observe hundreds of macaws, monkeys and tapirs, and swamps filled with palm trees in which bird colonies nest, and white sandy river beaches for camping in Tambopata. Check out www.perunature.com for all your traveling needs!
Manu Wildlife Center
When planning a trip to Manu (Peru), the Manu Wildlife Center is a place you can’t miss, and is conveniently close to Cuzco and Machu Picchu. This unique and one one-of-a-kind center prepares scientific student tours or tailor-made programs. Manu surrounds the Manu Biosphere Reserve and extends eastward through the Manu Lowlands (Peru), and must-see lists includes 1,000 species of birds, more than 200 species of mammals, 13 species of monkey, a great variety of butterflies and 15,000 species of flowering plants.
For more information visit: manu-wildlife-center.com
In 1989, iconic singer and songwriter Sting with his wife Trudie Styler saw first-hand the destruction of the Amazon rainforests and the devastating impact it had on indigenous people, and knew they had to do something. They founded The Rainforest Foundation; with a mission to support the indigenous peoples and traditional populations of the world’s rainforest, and protect their environment. Donations to The Rainforest Foundation provides millions of dollars annually, funding three autonomous organizations – Rainforest Foundation US, Rainforest Foundation Norway, Rainforest Foundation, that benefit projects in more than 20 countries that protect tropical rainforests and the people that live in them.
For more information visit: rainforestfoundationuk.org