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 rainforest spans nearly 2.6 million square miles, an area that’s twice the size of India.
The Amazon River flows for more than 4,100 miles.
It contains hundreds of tributaries.
Thanks to its sheer size, the rainforest is home to 10% of the world’s known species.
Some of the Amazon’s animals are easily spotted.
The Amazon is also home to 350 ethnic groups, like the Huni Kui Indian tribe.
The Huni Kui tribe pray in thatched huts known as shubua.
These groups’ way of life reflects their surroundings.
Dream Braga, an 18-year-old Kambeba Indian, grew up using a bow and arrow to shoot fish — both for fun and for food.
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 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.
Some of the Amazon’s tribes are considered uncontacted, meaning that they live in complete isolation, with no contact to the rest of civilization.
Unfortunately, the Amazon has suffered greatly in the last several decades. In the last 50 years, 17% of the forest has been lost.
Much of the suffering has come at the hands of humans. This lone tree sits in a deforested area that was once jungle.
The deforestation that the area faces is often illegal.
This patch of land was deforested in order to plant soybeans.
Besides deforestation, illegal gold mining is also a serious issue in the Amazon.
This illegal gold mining camp in Madre de Dios, Peru, was destroyed by police officers.
The police aren’t the only ones hunting down illegal gold miners.
Munduruku Indian warriors also help to protect the land by searching for miners.
Oil spills can also be a problem, and call for professional clean ups.
Not all humans visit the Amazon with the intention of destroying it though.
Thankfully, there are those who work to preserve it, so that the unique biome will still exist for coming generations to witness.