May 16, 2013

The Immense and Remote Peruvian Rainforest

By Shannon Sullivan

The first thing most visitors notice about the Peruvian Rainforest, besides its beauty, is its immense size. The rainforest covers over half of Peru, an area greater than the size of France! It’s so large that the Amazon Basin region contains more than half of the world’s rainforests.

Photo Source: Axis of Logic
Due to its sheer size, it’s understandable that the Peruvian Rainforest is also one of the most remote locations on Earth. It is considered to be one of the last areas of true, intact wilderness on the planet. The rainforest is so remote that even though indigenous people have been living in the Amazon for as long as 15,000 years, European explorers were unable to reliably access it until less than five hundred years ago.

The Peruvian Rainforest is so isolated that there are an estimated fifteen uncontacted indigenous tribes that consider it home, between 3,500-4,500 individuals. These tribes rely on the rainforest for food, water, shelter, herbal medicines, and every other necessity and luxury they may need in life.

Photo Source: Survival International

The dock near the Amazon CARES clinic.
Photo Source: Debby Dayton
Infrastructure, such as roads and bridges, are becoming more commonplace throughout Peru, but access to the rainforest remains limited. In fact, the only way to travel to Iquitos, the headquarters of Amazon CARES, is by plane or by boat, making Iquitos the world’s largest city that cannot be reached by road.

The Peruvian government has recognized the importance of the rainforest not only for the survival of indigenous tribes, but also for the rainforest’s diverse plant and animal life. In turn, their government has taken measures to protect this massive ecosystem. Many national parks and wildlife preserves have been created in order to protect the rainforest. Time has shown that the intervention of the Peruvian government to protect the rainforest is vital to the conservation of the rainforest. Many international organizations, like the World Wildlife Fund, work with local governments in conservation efforts, making the rainforest one of the most protected natural areas in the world. Amazon CARES has also worked to conserve the rainforest around Iquitos, most recently raising concerns with The Office of Environment about the unlawful and inhumane use of endangered species.

Photo Source: Debby Dayton

The next time you think to yourself that you need to get away from it all, why not enjoy the remote solitude of the Peruvian Rainforest? Learn about upcoming volunteer opportunities with Amazon CARES here

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