"The more scientists look, the more they find"
Over the last four years scientists have discovered a new kind of monkey that purrs like a cat, a thumbnail sized frog, a vegetarian piranha and an astonishing flame-patterned lizard. These are just a few of the 441 species on the list of Amazon discoveries released by WWF today. It includes a total of 258 plants, 84 fish, 58 amphibians, 22 reptiles, 18 birds and 1 mammal. And that's without even starting on the thousands of insects and other invertebrates that have also come to light.
"The more scientists look, the more they find", said Damian Fleming, Head of Programmes for Brazil and the Amazon at WWF-UK. "The richness of the Amazon's forests and freshwater habitats continues to amaze the world. But these same habitats are also under growing threat. The discovery of these new species reaffirms the importance of stepping-up commitments to conserve and sustainably manage the unique biodiversity and also the goods and services provided by the rainforests to the people and businesses of the region."
Most of the recently discovered plants and animals are thought to be endemic to small parts of the Amazon rainforest, living only in very restricted areas. This makes them highly vulnerable to the threat of deforestation that's currently destroying three football pitches of rainforest every minute across the Amazon.
* Through its Living Amazon Initiative, WWF is working towards a comprehensive approach with governments, civil society, and the private sector to promote the transformational process needed to bring about an alternative scenario to better preserve the Amazon's biodiversity.
* As part of Sky Rainforest Rescue, WWF is helping to save one billion trees in the Brazilian state of Acre, a region that's threatened by a new road. Working together with local people and the state government, the project is finding alternatives to deforestation that can make the trees worth more standing than cut down. To date, over 5,000 people have committed to keeping the rainforest standing on their land.
* As part of I Love Amazon Week (21-27 October), WWF are asking people to do their bit to help keep rainforests standing by pledging to be forest-friendly. Pledge today and we'll send you all the tips you need to make the positive choices that can have a big impact on the rainforest.