- Mamiraua-Amana, Brazil Photo
- ©Stephen Sautner
Brazil is perhaps the most biologically rich country in the world. The swamp and flooded forests of the Mamiraua-Amana eco-region shelter an extremely high number of aquatic animals, including two species of freshwater dolphins. During the rainy season, the Amazon River swells and extensive forested areas become flooded—in some places to depths of 40 feet. Fish and reptiles migrate into these newly flooded habitats to feed and reproduce. Primates, such as the endemic white uakari, and other seed- and fruit-eating species rely on the floodplain forest habitats. In turn, the monkeys serve as the primary seed-dispersal agents for many floodplain plants.
- The pirarucu, or arapaima, an air-breathing fish that can grow to 8 feet in length and weigh 200 pounds, is a living fossil and one of the world’s largest freshwater fishes.
- Roughly 1 percent of the Amazon Basin is lost to deforestation every year, and the trend is getting worse.
- The Mamiraua-Amana region covers more than 13,000 square miles.
- More than 10,000 people live in and depend upon this landscape.
Logging, hunting for the wildlife trade, overfishing, and poorly planned development projects endanger the entire Amazon Basin. Other threats to the region include expanding infrastructure, colonization, and commercial agriculture.
In the early 1980s, WCS began supporting the wildlife research and conservation efforts of Brazilian primatologist José Márcio Ayres, who studied white uakari monkeys in the Mamirauá area. In the 1990s, under Ayres’s leadership, we helped to create Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve, the first reserve of its kind to be run largely by local people. Following the success of Mamirauá, the adjacent Amanã SDR was established in 1997. Together with the Jaú National Park, Mamiraua-Amana forms the largest protected area complex of tropical forests on the planet.
From the Newsroom
Dr. Julie Kunen, Director of WCS’s Latin America and Caribbean Program, describes the value of Amazon waters to the lives of millions of people and a spectacular array of wildlife. These waters are facing steep threats from a combination of infrastructure development and climate change.