Endangered Species in the Rainforest

The endangered species in the rainforest of Brazil include animals and plants that are threatened to the point of extinction if careful steps aren't taken to protect them and the rainforest that they call home.

The rainforest of Brazil is home to over 1,000 bird species, 23 primate species, and just under 1,200 species of reptiles, amphibians, fish, and mammals. There are over 750 tree types and nearly 1,500 plant species in a mere 2.5 acres of rainforest, so you can imagine how many species are throughout the rainforest!

What Does Endangered Mean?

Animal and plant species that are endangered are ones that are in peril of becoming extinct if measures are not taken to protect them and their habitat. The rainforests of the world and Brazil have so many species of animals and plants; they are most at risk of becoming endangered.

Why Are The Animals and Plants of Brazil's
Rainforest Endangered?

There are many reasons, but the main one is that people have not yet made it a priority to preserve the precious natural resources that exist in the rainforest.

Logging, hunting, oil and gas mining, gold mining, farming, ranching, and settling of the land by humans have all disrupted the natural balance of life.

It's an unfortunate truth: the rainforest is slowly being destroyed for short term economic gains, without a consideration to the long term effects that these actions have on the the land, the animals and the people of the region.

Endangered Species in the Rainforest - Animals

Animals of the Brazilian rainforest that are on the critically endangered list include:

  • Spectacled bear

  • Golden-rumped Lion Tamarin

  • Black-faced Lion Tamarin

  • Northern Muriqui

  • Brazilian Arboreal Mouse

  • Coimbra's Titi

  • Capuchin Species

  • Northern Bahian Blond Titi

The endangered rainforest animals in the Brazilian rainforest include:

  • Blue Hyacinth Macaw

  • Pygmy Short-tailed Opossum

  • Brazilian Spiny Rice Rat

  • Rio de Janeiro Rice Rat

  • White-eared Marmoset

  • Buffy-headed Marmoset

  • Fin Whale

  • Golden-headed Lion Tamarin

  • Southern Muriqui

  • Cleber's Arboreal Rice Rat

  • White-whiskered Spider Monkey

  • Giant Otter

  • White-eared Marmoset

  • Maned Three-toed Sloth

  • Giant Armadillo

  • Pacarana

Threatened animal species of the Brazilian rainforest include the magnificent jaguar, colorful toucans and parrots, the unique harpy eagle, sea turtles, brightly colored poison dart frog, and the plump, docile manatee. Additionally, there are at least another 60 species of animals whose habitats and very lives are threatened in the rainforest.

Endangered Species of the Rainforest - Flora and Fauna

It's difficult to wrap the mind around the sheer numbers of species of plants, trees, and flowering plants that exist in the rainforest, but it's important to understand the role they play in the rainforest and in the world's delicate ecosystems.

Unfortunately, there are several species of flora and fauna that are considered endangered in the rainforests of Brazil. Some of the ones endangered include:

  • Orchids - nearly 25,000 different species within the orchid family exist in the rainforest and most of them are endangered, threatened or completely gone

  • Brazilian Cherry tree

  • Aniba Rosewood

  • Honduras Mahogany tree

  • Ipe - also called Brazilian Walnut

  • Brazilian Pine

  • Tulipwood

  • Parana Pine

  • Central American Cedar

  • Walnut tree

  • Graviola fruit or Brazilian Paw Paw

  • Moss - Itatiella ulei

Brazil's Atlantic Forest is also currently at great risk with many of the plant species in this area endangered or threatened. Overall, Brazil's rainforest has at least 45 plant and tree species that are potentially extinct if they're not protected.

Why is a Healthy Rainforest Important Globally?

The Brazilian rainforest produces 20% of the worlds' oxygen supply. The plants, trees, and flowering plants ensure that the worlds' carbon dioxide is recycled into breathable oxygen.

Imagine if the rainforest was gone? It would affect the world many times over due to less oxygen and more carbon dioxide in the air, creating an even more serious greenhouse effect.

Brazil's rainforest provides a number of food items to the rest of the world, including coffee, bananas, tomatoes, cinnamon, Brazil nuts, black pepper, lemons, oranges, corn, cayenne, grapefruit, yams, sugar cane, pineapples, figs, coffee, squash, potatoes, and chocolate, to name a few.

The Western World alone enjoys over 200 fruits from the Brazilian rainforest. The worlds' diet would suffer greatly if the rainforest is destroyed and is no longer able to produce these foods important for the health of nations around the globe.

Did you know that the ingredients for over 100 prescription drugs are from the Brazilian rainforest?

The tropical plants and trees provide ingredients for nearly 25% of the cancer fighting medicines produced in the Western world. The periwinkle plant, found in the Amazon rainforest of Brazil, contains Vincristine, which is known as one of the most powerful and successful drugs used to fight acute childhood leukemia. This plant is only found in the rainforest!

Every animal that becomes extinct affects the food chain and the delicate balance of the ecosystem. Typically, the larger animals eat the smaller animals, so if one of the animals in the food chain dies, the others are directly affected. Eventually, the entire food chain or hierarchy is disturbed and destroyed.

Solutions to Saving the Endangered
Species in the Rainforest

Scientists, researchers, conservationists, and many others are actively trying to employ ways of saving the rainforest and the species that live there.

One of the most important solutions to the deforestation and destruction of the Brazilian rainforest, and the reduction of endangered species in the rainforest is a change of consciousness.

The idea that the rainforest is here today to serve us, and that we can simply take whatever we want, regardless of the consequences to those that live there, is a very limited and self centered viewpoint.

We need to consider that it takes nearly a century for a rainforest to return after being stripped or destroyed. It is important that we take a more long-term approach to preserving the rainforest right now.

There are other movements and actions being taken to save the endangered species in the rainforest including:

  • Plant a Billion Trees Campaign - an effort to rebuild the Atlantic Forest

  • Captive breeding programs

  • Nature reserves and parks

  • Government regulation of hunting

  • Gene banks - to preserve the genetic makeup of animals

  • Bioprospecting - research conducted in the rainforest to find new drugs

  • Germplasm conservation - collect and preserve the genetic makeup of medicinal plants found in the rainforest

Generally, the solution to saving the endangered species in the rainforest of Brazil is conservation on all fronts. You can help too by learning about the animals and plants of this area of the world and then researching to see how you can participate physically or financially to help these species survive for many years to come!


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