Endangered animals of Peru

Laurel Thompson

Animals are considered endangered when they are at risk of extinction, either because there are only a small number of them left, due to threats from changes to their environment, shifting of predator to prey ratios, and other factors. Nations over the last 50 years have developed laws to protect species form becoming extinct; however few species actually get on these lists. Many become extinct without the attention or protection of humans, though it is true that in probably all cases over the last century, the machinations of humans have caused the imbalances that have led to the disappearance of thousands of animal and plant species.

Especially within the last century and a half, species have been becoming extinct at a higher rate than at any time in history. In the case of the Amazon Rainforest, which covers parts of Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, Colombia, Bolivia and Brazil, the loss of habitat created by farmers who cut down trees and burn whole tracts of jungle for cattle grazing and crop production, may result in unknowable consequences for the entire planet. The Amazon has been called the lungs of the planet, and its further destruction could accelerate global warming, with devastating consequences for humans and most of the species on Earth.

Some endangered species of Peru are:

The Andean Cat, (Oreailurus jacobita) considered among the five most endangered cats in the world, is considered critically endangered. It is found in the high regions of Peru, Argentina, Chile and Bolivia, and is one of the shyest and least known cats in existence. About the size of a housecat, Andean Cats feed on several classes of mice, small birds and rodents. Along with the Pampas cat, (Oncifelis colocolo), it is known as "osqhollo" by the Quechua. Factors contributing to its declining numbers may include reduction of prey, harvesting of plants that their prey is dependent on, and hunting by humans.

The Yellow Tailed Woolly Monkey, (Oreonax flavicauda), is a rare primate species found only in the Peruvian Andes. There are less than 250 of these monkeys left in the northern Peruvian cloud forests. They have thick hair and long prehensile tails. They eat fruits, leaves, flowers, and buds. Loss of habitat due to destruction of forests for agriculture and cattle-ranching has contributed to the critically endangered status of these monkeys.

The Amazon Pink River Dolphin, (Inia Geoffrensis), known as boutu by the inhabitants of the jungle, is classified as a vulnerable species on the endangered species list. It is one of only five species of freshwater dolphins in the world. It inhabits muddy rivers, relying on echolocation to hunt for prey. These dolphins may be pink or pale blue; they are often albino. Factors threatening these unique animals include damming, building canals and diversion of river courses.

Kuoda Tours brings travelers to remote regions of the Amazon where they can see the rainforest firsthand and gain a greater understanding of this vital area and the amazing diversity of species therein.
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