By Aisiri Haritsa, Grade VIII, Ekya School BTM Layout

Oxygen, one of the most essential elements for our survival, is dependent on the Amazon. The Amazon produces 20%of the world’s oxygen and is also called ‘Lungs of the planet’. The Amazon rainforest got its name when a Spanish explorer got into a fight with one of the natives. He was surprised to see female warriors fighting alongside males, hence he named this place after the female warriors of the Greek mythology.

I started researching about the Amazon for my science project and was amazed by the innumerable variety of species of animals and plants, the landscape and how important it is for our survival. The Amazon rainforest is home to a number of animals that are beautiful, and DEADLY! The one that fascinates me the most is the green anaconda which is the world’s heaviest and longest snake. It grows up to 20-30 feet long and it can weigh from 30-70 kgs. It is quite slow on land, but it is fast in water that is why it is in the Amazon river most of the time.

One fish in the Amazon river, the Pirarucu or the Arapaima or Paiche as the natives call it, is a very deadly fish. Why so deadly you may ask, it is because it has teeth even on the roof of its mouth and its tongue. A bite from this fish can cause death or serious injury. These fish swim in groups and their hard scales let them survive even deadly Piranha bites.

Wilson’s Bird of Paradise

The Wilson’s bird of paradise is a very colorful and beautiful species of bird found in the Amazon. It is rather small. Males can reach a length of 16cm and a weight of 53–67 gm, while females can reach the same length as the males, but a weight of 52–60 g. The male is red and black with a yellow mantle on its neck, light green mouth, rich blue feet, and two curved violet tail feathers. The head is naked blue, with a black double cross pattern on it. The female is a brownish bird with the bare blue crown.

I feel that animals and plants should remain in their natural habitat, but unfortunately, the demand for land has become more and more by the days and due to this demand, trees are being cut to make free space for us humans to use. Deforestation leads to biodiversity loss, local climate change, and global warming. Farmers often have trouble raising crops, which in turn results in more problems, such as an increase in food prices. Cultural displacement and soil erosion are also disasters that occur. The Amazon rainforest is a major victim of this threat.

Deforestation of the Amazon rainforest accelerated remarkably between 1991 and 2004, reaching an annual forest loss rate of 27,423 km² in 2004. Even though the rate of deforestation has been gradually decreasing since 2004, the remaining forest cover continues to diminish.

We can contribute to saving the Amazon by using lesser wood and paper, we can try and plant more trees and spread more awareness. These animals and plants need us as much as we need them, we can try and save the lungs of our planet!

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