A study conducted by the World Wildlife Foundation Brazil and Mamiraua Institute for Sustainable Development has revealed that 381 new species were discovered over two years.
Between 2014 and 2015, 216 plants, 93 fish, 32 amphibians, 20 mammals, 19 reptiles and 1 bird – all previously unknown – were found in the Amazon region.
While the discovery sounds impressive, WWF say it should be a warning about the effects of human activity. “[It’s] a wake-up call for the Governments of Amazon countries that they must halt ongoing and relentless deforestation and work to preserve its unparalleled biodiversity,” says Head of Programmes Brazil and Amazon Sarah Hutchinson. “If they don’t, there will continue to be irreversible impacts on the Amazon’s much loved wildlife, undiscovered species and the indigenous people that call it home.”
Despite the Amazon rainforest being the largest in the world, significant amounts of land are destroyed every year through farming and logging. All 381 species found in the past two years were located in areas now being demolished by human activity, says coordinator of the WWF Brazil Amazon programme Ricardo Mello. “This is very important to us, because it links the fact that our economic activities are causing species to go extinct before we even know about them,” he says.
Both organisations maintain that far more work must be done in order to preserve and protect the rich flora and fauna of the Amazon.