IntroductionThis section covers facts about the Amazon Rainforest including the animals and flora found there. The Amazon Rainforest covers most of the Amazon Basin in South America and comprises over half of all the rainforests on earth. What many consider to be the worlds largest natural resource is quickly being destroyed by deforestation. Humans, the ones who have the power to stop destroying the rainforests, are the ones doing all the damage. If we do not preserve "the world's lungs", rainforests as we know them could be gone in 40 years. The interesting facts below, written for kids and adults, provides information on the Amazon as well as the threats we face when rainforests get destroyed.
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Amazon Rainforest General Facts
- Conditions throughout the year are consistently hot, humid and moist in the Amazon with an average annual temperature of 80.7 degrees F (27 C).
- The Amazon covers approximately 2.5 million square miles and spreads out over nine countries including Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana.
- There are approximately 5 million different species of plants, animals and insects living in the Amazon. Animal and plant species that are found here are often not found anywhere else.
- About 1 million Indians in 400 different tribes call the Amazon Rainforest home. Some have contact with the outside world and even receive modern day healthcare and education, but many do not. Today there are about 50 tribes with their own language and culture that have never made contact with anyone outside the rainforest.
- One third of all birds species live in the Amazon. The toucan represents the iconic symbol of the Amazon, and for good reason. It is the loudest bird living there with a call that can be heard for half a mile.
- Many dangerous animals, reptiles and spiders live in the Amazon. The most notorious of the 300 species of reptiles living there is the Anaconda. The Poison Dart Frog, Brazilian Wandering Spider and Jaguar are just a handful of dangerous Amazon Rainforest creatures. Lurking in the Amazon River are Caiman Crocodiles, Piranha and Electric Eels.
- Among the 3000 fruits that are native to the Amazon are figs, grapefruit, bananas, pineapples, mangos, oranges and lemons. Today, about 200 fruits are grown for consumption but many more that may be edible have yet to be discovered.
- There is a rainy season and a very rainy season in the Amazon. Precipitation ranges from about 30-100 inches (76-254 cm) to 60-180 inches (154-457 cm).
Amazon Rainforest Deforestation Facts
- The earth receives 20% of its oxygen from the Amazon and thus the name "the world's lungs". In stark contrast, the continual burning of the rainforest produces about 30% of the earth's carbon emissions.
- An alarming 2,700 million acres of the rainforest are burned each year which amounts to approximately 1.5 acres per second!
- 137 species of rainforest plants, animals and insects become extinct every day.
- Seventy percent of the plants known to have anti-cancer properties are found in the Amazon. Modern science has not even yet studied 90% of the plants used for this purpose by the Amazon's native tribes. If deforestation continues it will likely affect the availability of some potentially life-saving plants.