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GALLERY: Photos of the Amazon and how it’s being destroyed!

Amazon Reuters Package 2
A Kayapo boy with traditional piercings and body paint in the Kikretum community in Sao Felix, Brazil.
Ricardo Moraes/Reuters

The Amazon is the largest remaining tropical rainforest in the world.

It’s a natural wonder that’s inhabited by a diverse array of species and ethnic groups.

Sadly, human activity is destroying the rainforest and much of its biodiversity.

The photos below portray an unfortunate juxtaposition between the Amazon’s beauty and the forces that are working against it.

The Amazon encompasses most of northwestern Brazil and expands into Colombia and Peru, among other South American countries.

The Amazon encompasses most of northwestern Brazil and expands into Colombia and Peru, among other South American countries.
This natural lake near Manaus, Brazil, is fed by a spring in the Amazon River.
Ivan Canabrava/Reuters

The rainforest spans nearly 2.6 million square miles, an area that’s twice the size of India.

The rainforest spans nearly 2.6 million square miles, an area that's twice the size of India.
A view from the Amazon Tall Tower Observatory in Sao Sebastiao do Uatuma, Brazil.
Bruno Kelly/Reuters

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The Amazon River flows for more than 4,100 miles.

The Amazon River flows for more than 4,100 miles.
An aerial view of a river in Iquitos, Peru.
 Enrique Castro-Mendivil/Reuters

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It contains hundreds of tributaries.

It contains hundreds of tributaries.
Water lily pads on a lake in Peru’s Pacaya Samiria National Reserve.
 Pilar Olivares/Reuters

Thanks to its sheer size, the rainforest is home to 10% of the world’s known species.

Thanks to its sheer size, the rainforest is home to 10% of the world's known species.
Red and green macaws in the Manu Biosphere Reserve in Manu, Peru.
Enrique Castro-Mendivil/Reuters

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Some of the Amazon’s animals are easily spotted.

Some of the Amazon's animals are easily spotted.
A capped heron in the Maranon River in Loreto, Peru.
 Pilar Olivares/Reuters

While others, like this white caiman, are hidden in plain sight.

While others, like this white caiman, are hidden in plain sight.
A white caiman in a river in the Manu Biosphere Reserve in Manu, Peru.
Enrique Castro-Mendivil/Reuters

The Amazon is also home to 350 ethnic groups, like the Huni Kui Indian tribe.

The Amazon is also home to 350 ethnic groups, like the Huni Kui Indian tribe.
Spiritual leaders of the Huni Kui Indian tribe perform a ceremony for a sacred samauma (silk-cotton) tree outside the village of Novo Segredo, Brazil.
 Lunae Parracho/Reuters

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The Huni Kui tribe pray in thatched huts known as shubua.

The Huni Kui tribe pray in thatched huts known as shubua.
A prayer house in the Brazilian village of Me Txanava.
 Lunae Parracho/Reuters

These groups’ way of life reflects their surroundings.

These groups' way of life reflects their surroundings.
A man pulls his boat across the mudflats of a tributary of the Amazon River during a drought.
 Marcio Silva/Reuters

Dream Braga, an 18-year-old Kambeba Indian, grew up using a bow and arrow to shoot fish — both for fun and for food.

Dream Braga, an 18-year-old Kambeba Indian, grew up using a bow and arrow to shoot fish — both for fun and for food.
Braga, pictured in his hometown of Tres Unidos, is now part of the Brazilian national archery team.
 Bruno Kelly/Reuters

This villager paddles back from a night of fishing with the two pirarucus he caught. The largest freshwater fish in South America, pirarucus are only allowed to be caught once a year.

This villager paddles back from a night of fishing with the two pirarucus he caught. The largest freshwater fish in South America, pirarucus are only allowed to be caught once a year.
Brazil’s environmental protection agency limits the number of times pirarucus can be caught.
 Bruno Kelly/Reuters

This fisherman takes advantage of the coast near Brazil’s Para State, where freshwater from the Amazon River mixes with the Atlantic Ocean, to dig for crabs.

This fisherman takes advantage of the coast near Brazil's Para State, where freshwater from the Amazon River mixes with the Atlantic Ocean, to dig for crabs.Paulo Santos/Reuters

Some of the Amazon’s tribes are considered uncontacted, meaning that they live in complete isolation, with no contact to the rest of civilization.

Some of the Amazon's tribes are considered uncontacted, meaning that they live in complete isolation, with no contact to the rest of civilization.
Members of an uncontacted tribe react to a plane flying over their community near the Xinane River in Brazil.
 Lunae Parracho/Reuters

Unfortunately, the Amazon has suffered greatly in the last several decades. In the last 50 years, 17% of the forest has been lost.

Unfortunately, the Amazon has suffered greatly in the last several decades. In the last 50 years, 17% of the forest has been lost.
The rainforest burns near the Brazilian city of Mandaquiri during a seasonal drought.
Paulo Whitaker/Reuters

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Much of the suffering has come at the hands of humans. This lone tree sits in a deforested area that was once jungle.

Much of the suffering has come at the hands of humans. This lone tree sits in a deforested area that was once jungle.
An aerial view of deforested land in Sinopi, Brazil.
 Bruno Domingos/Reuters

The deforestation that the area faces is often illegal.

The deforestation that the area faces is often illegal.
Deforestation near Amazonia National Park in Itaituba, Brazil.
 Nacho Doce/Reuters

This patch of land was deforested in order to plant soybeans.

This patch of land was deforested in order to plant soybeans.
An aerial photo taken over Mato Grosso state in western Brazil.
 Paulo Whitaker/Reuters

Besides deforestation, illegal gold mining is also a serious issue in the Amazon.

Besides deforestation, illegal gold mining is also a serious issue in the Amazon.
Police officers participate in an operation to destroy illegal gold mining camps in Mega 14, a zone in the Peruvian region of Madre de Dios.
 Janine Costa/Reuters

This illegal gold mining camp in Madre de Dios, Peru, was destroyed by police officers.

 This illegal gold mining camp in Madre de Dios, Peru, was destroyed by police officers.
The remnants of an illegal gold mining camp in Peru.
 Sebastian Castaneda/Reuters

The police aren’t the only ones hunting down illegal gold miners.

The police aren't the only ones hunting down illegal gold miners.
Munduruku Indian warriors navigate the Das Tropas river, a tributary of the Tapajos and Amazon rivers, searching for illegal gold mines and miners in their territory.
Lunae Parracho/Reuters

Munduruku Indian warriors also help to protect the land by searching for miners.

Munduruku Indian warriors also help to protect the land by searching for miners.
A Munduruku Indian warrior.
 Lunae Parracho/Reuters

Oil spills can also be a problem, and call for professional clean ups.

Oil spills can also be a problem, and call for professional clean ups.
Employees of Pluspetrol, an Argentine company, do damage control after an oil spill in Loreto, Peru.
 Antonio Escalante/Reuters

Not all humans visit the Amazon with the intention of destroying it though.

Not all humans visit the Amazon with the intention of destroying it though.
A woman onboard a cruise sunbathes on the Maranon River in Peru.
 Pilar Olivares/Reuters

Thankfully, there are those who work to preserve it, so that the unique biome will still exist for coming generations to witness.

Thankfully, there are those who work to preserve it, so that the unique biome will still exist for coming generations to witness.

Source: Photos of the Amazon and how it’s being destroyed – INSIDER