Poison dart frogs, a catfish that eats monkeys, bald parrots, pink dolphins, blue-toothed tarantulas, a new type of pineapple — just a few of the 1,220 species found over the past decade
in the Amazon.
A recent tabulation has revealed that 1,220 new species of animals and plants have been found, which equates to about one new species found every three days. Imagine all the species on the planet that still haven't been found! Seven different types of moneys, 637 new plant species and a four-meter-long anaconda live in such environments as the Amazon.
Such discoveries, however, raise concern about the treatment of the ecosystems where such unique creatures live. In an interview with CNN
, Jim Leape, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) International Director General, emphasizes how unique this discovery is: " ... [this] report is really intended to bring home the richness of the Amazon forest and how much there is. The Amazon is the single most important place on Earth for biodiversity — it holds ten percent of the world's known species."
As can be seen, the Amazon is under a great threat of destruction. The WWF indicates that 17 percent of the Amazon has been destroyed in the past 50 years, a land area equal to approximately twice the size of Spain. Logging timber, large-scale cattle ranching, mining operations, government road building, hydroelectric schemes, military operations are just a few reasons why the land is being cleared
. Many times, rain forests are burned to provide charcoal to power industrial plants in the area. Imagine the thousands of species lost and relocated because of the destruction of their homes through bulldozers and other construction equipment. For thousands of years, such species have lived, and in one second, their homes are destroyed.
Francisco Ruiz, head of the WWF's Living Amazon Initiative, mentions that, "It serves as a reminder of how much we still have to learn about this unique region, and what we could lose if we don't change the way we think about development." Leape discusses how the decisions that we make directly affect what occurs in the Amazon. A few of the things that consumers can do
to protect the Amazonian ecosystem:
• Invest in rain forest communities such as Protect-an-Acre.
• Reduce paper and wood consumption by instead buying recycled paper.
• Hold businesses responsible for environmentally destructive business practices.
Living on such a diverse planet calls for some consciousness of our cohabitants. Hopefully, we will find even more species in the next decade instead of finding species on the brink of extinction.