6 species threatened by deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest

7 Oct , 2019 Blog

We talk a lot about the impact that deforestation has on the human race. Without sustainable agroforestry systems in place, we know that deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest can have a huge effect on people — both locally and globally. But what about other species?

Deforestation leads to loss of habitat for hundreds of animals and birds. So much so, that many local species are now endangered. The gaps left between trees mean creatures such as the Peruvian Woolly Monkey are unable to move around easily, making it very difficult to keep safe and find food. Native birds like the Toucan, Guacamayo, Perdiz and Pihuicho are unable to survive in a pasture habitat. 

So to help you understand the importance of working with smallholder farmers to protect native species through the implementation of sustainable agroforestry systems, we’ve pulled together a list of some of those most under threat. 

Iquitos Gnatcatcher

Only discovered in 2005, this little grey and white bird is confined to white-sand forest. As a tragic consequence of agriculture and logging-driven habitat reduction, there are only 75-374 individuals of this species left in the wild. Their limited range is estimated at less than 8 square miles or roughly 4,950 acres, currently ranking them as critically endangered under the IUCN-World Conservation Union criteria.

Peruvian Woolly Monkey

Also critically endangered, the Peruvian Woolly Monkey is heavily hunted and infants are often favoured as pets. This means they are very wary of people and difficult to track. Limited research has shown a change in the composition of this monkey’s diet over time. Previous research had shown that in primary forest, their diet would consist of 80% fruit, whereas in regenerating forest it was 50% fruits with a greater amount of leaves and invertebrates. This knowledge will help conservationists plan strategies that will help build suitable habitats for Woolly Monkeys. 

Giant Brazilian Otter

Giant Brazilian Otters are highly social, living in family groups of up to 20 individuals. They are active during the day, feeding on fish, crustaceans and small snakes. In fact, they can eat up to 4kg of food per day. However, due to habitat loss and exploitation, the current total wild population is estimated at between only 1,000 – 5,000 individuals. 

White Bellied Spider Monkey

The population of the White Bellied Spider Monkey has declined by at least 50% in the last five decades. This is mainly down to the increase of Amazonian temperatures thanks to global climate change, which impacts fruiting patterns and, therefore, the White Bellied Spider Monkey’s diet – which is made up of 83% of mature fruit. They prefer fruits with high sugar content, and also enjoy other plant parts such as leaves, flowers and bulbs. 


The jaguar is the third largest cat species in the world. Often confused with the leopard, the jaguar is larger and studier. Although it is a solitary creature, this big cat plays an important role in stabilising ecosystems and regulating prey populations. International trade of its body parts is illegal, yet the jaguar is still regularly killed by ranchers and farmers. 


Admired for their bright bills and plumage, toucans are among the best-known birds in the world. Their colourful appearance means they often kept as pets or hunted so their feathers can be used as decorations. The toucan is a highly social bird and can occur in groups of up to 20. Predominantly forest species, and limited to forests with large old trees that have holes big enough to breed in, toucans struggle to thrive in areas affected by deforestation.  

Written for Plant Your Future by Chloe Tonkin, PR Volunteer

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