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How To Help Endangered Amazon Wildlife

  |   Wildlife & Flora

Endangered Species in the Amazon

Endangered Species in the Amazon

#SeriousAboutWildlifeCrime is this year’s social media hashtag, to bring awareness to crime against wildlife. World Wildlife Day takes place yearly on March 3rd and aims to celebrate the beautiful and varied species we have around the world, including both animals and plants. It is also a day for awareness. This day reminds us that many of the world’s plants and animals are under serious threat and near extinction. It is our responsibility to step up and fight against these crimes against wildlife to further prevent any harmful environmental, social and economic impacts. 

Endangered Animals in the Amazon Rainforest

The Amazon rainforest spans across South America, and contains millions of species, many of them still undiscovered. Approximately 40,00 plant species, 3,000 freshwater species and more than 370 types of reptiles make the Amazon jungle their home. Frequent rainforest deforestation and climate change heavily threaten Amazon wildlife. Here is a list of 6 endangered species in the Amazon rainforest, starting with the Jaguar, who is near threatened to extinction.

1. Jaguar

2. Black Spider Monkey

3. Three-Toed Sloth

4. Poison Dart Frog

5. Macaw

6. Amazon River Dolphin 


How you can help endangered Amazon wildlife during your Amazon river cruise

1. Feed a Baby Manatee

Baby Manatee 

Baby Manatee 

During your Peruvian Amazon cruise, a trip to the Amazonian Manatee Rescue Center allows visitors to learn all about these graceful endangered animals - and even bottle feed the baby manatees who stay at the center until they are 2 years old when they are reintroduced into the wild.

Just 4.5 kms from Iquitos airport on the main Iquitos to Nauta highway, the Center is a popular inclusion on many Amazon cruise itineraries. Read our blog post about the Amazonian Manatee Rescue Centre here.


2. Visit Pilpintuwasi Butterfly Farm & Amazon Animal Orphanage

Butterfly Farm

Butterfly Farm

Another beneficial activity you can be apart of during your Peruvian Amazon cruise is visiting the Butterfly Farm & Amazon Animal Orphanage in Iquitos, Peru. Learn all about the life cycle of butterflies and get to meet some of the animals that charismatic owner Gudren Sperrer has rescued over the years, including Pedro Bello, a 5-year-old jaguar, rescued as a cub. There are also alligators, a manatee and lots of monkeys. Watch out for the cheeky Red Uakari monkeys who'll steal anything they can get their hands on! Best to take a bunch of bananas and bribe them to leave you alone.

To get there, take a motocarro to Puerto Bella Vista Nanay and from there a 15-minute water taxi ride to the village of Padre Cocha. From there it is only a short walk to the entrance of Pilpintuwasi.


3. Monkey Island in the Peruvian Amazon

Monkey Island

Monkey Island

Some two hours down the Amazon by fast boat lies Monkey Island. This sanctuary was provided because here in the rainforest monkey meat is on many of the locals diets. Local people shoot monkeys to eat and sell the babies as pets.

The protected 200 hectare island is inhabited by 9 species of monkey in 10 family units, roaming freely and feeding off a variety of fruits such as starfruit, banana, pineapple, cocona and guava. These were specially planted to ensure the monkey’s staple diet is maintained. As soon as visitors arrive at the island the monkeys swarm towards them so it’s always best to take some bananas with you so as not to disappoint them. You can go for a walk through the rainforest and the monkeys will follow you, one even leading you by the hand.

There is no charge for visiting Monkey Island but visitors are expected to make a voluntary contribution for the upkeep of the sanctuary. Allow a full day for this trip. To get there, take amotocarro to the port of Bella Vista Nanay and from there rent an aluminium speedboat for a few hours to take you the 45-minute ride to the island and back.


4. Visit the Monkey Jungle Reserve in Manaus, Brazil

Monkey Jungle Reserve

Monkey Jungle Reserve

The Monkey Jungle Reserve in Manaus is a centre for primates that have been rescued from illegal traders and are in need of rehabilitation. This monkey sanctuary re-introduces primates into their natural habitat, so eventually they can return to their home deep in the Amazon rainforest. In partnership with the Live Forest Foundation, Monkey Jungle provides a unique feeding system for the monkeys to ensure they are receiving proper nutrition. Monkey Forest is open to guests during feeding times (10:30am & 3:30pm) through the Amazon Eco Park Lodge, which is located beside the Monkey Jungle Reserve.


5. Ask your Amazon Cruise Guide or Donate Directly to Organizations

If you would like to help the Amazon’s endangered species or help conserve the Amazon rainforest but you are unsure how, you can always ask your Amazon river cruise guide. Your guide on your jungle cruise will know who will benefit from your donation the most. Don’t be afraid to ask them, or donate directly with the World Wildlife Fund here or Rainforest Trust here.

Rainforest Trust

Rainforest Trust

The World Wildlife Fund allows you to symbolically adopt any one of the Amazon’s endangered species. You can also donate monthly. While donating to Rainforest Trust, you will help purchase and protect the most threatened rainforests, saving wildlife through community engagement. Rainforest Cruises works in partnership with Rainforest Trust to help conserve the Amazon rainforest. In 2014, we helped conserve 4,000 acres of the Amazon jungle.


6. Spend Money On The Right Souvenirs

Amazon Souvenirs

Amazon Souvenirs

As advocates for responsible tourism we implore all our passengers to be responsible and not purchase animals, animal parts, or eat endangered animals for sale in the local markets. For example, as can be found in many Amazon settlements, in Iquitos, Peru there is a specific row of stalls in the famous Belen Market called Pasaje Paquito, where they sell pieces of all types of animals, most of them endangered, as amulets, icons and potions, claiming to cure all sorts of ailments.

Please spend your money instead on fair-trade handicrafts and souvenirs to support local communities, providing them with additional income so that they are not otherwise out hunting to support their families. 

Rainforest Cruises is serious about wildlife crime and we urge you to become aware of the dangers the Amazon rainforest faces everyday. Help spread awareness of wildlife crimes and rainforest deforestation, and work towards a healthier climate on a daily level by recycling, riding your bike to work and switching to e-paper.

#SeriousAboutWildlifeCrime #WorldWildlifeDay

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About Rainforest Cruises

Rainforest Cruises is a boutique travel company specializing in Amazon river cruises and tours, providing you with the finest collection of cruises in Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands and Panama. As South American travel experts we have all the advice you need to help you find and book your dream cruise and an unforgettable adventure of a lifetime.


Geri Daniel loved her vacation with Rainforest Cruises.
We had an absolutely fabulous time on the cruise. Thank you again for the trip of a lifetime.
— Geri Daniel, Austin, TX
The Johannson family encounter a sloth on their rainforest cruise.
We had a wonderful time. We were all impressed with the efficiency and organization of the trip from start to finish.
— Jeanette Johannson & Family, USA