265 Endangered Species Are Being Threatened By The Amazon Forest Fires
The WWF has warned that 265 endangered species are under threat from the Amazon rainforest fires which have been devastating the area over the last couple of months.
In a statement on Monday, the world's leading conservation organisation warned that "ongoing fires in the Amazon increase threats to 265 endangered species of plants and animals, with the worst of the forest fires likely still ahead."
Home to around 3 million species of plants and animals and one million indigenous people, the impact of these fires on the area could be devastating.
Worryingly, the WWF warns that they are likely to worsen; continuing to destroy the homes of thousands of species and endangering the lives of thousands more.
Included in these 265 endangered species are the giant armadillo, the white lipped peccary and the giant anteater. Another 124 of those whose lives are threatened are those who are uniquely found in the Amazon's distinct habitat.
Fires in the Amazon can often be caused by natural phenomena such as the heat from the sun or strokes of lightning, but the majority are nearly always the result of human interference.
According to the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), the weather conditions alone cannot explain the eruption of these extensive fires.
"There is nothing abnormal about the climate this year or the rainfall in the Amazon region, which is just a little below average," remarked INPE researcher Alberto Setzer.
"The dry season creates the favourable conditions for the use and spread of fire, but starting a fire is the work of humans, either deliberately or by accident."
Real concrete steps need to be made to prevent the spread of the fires anymore. Mauricio Voivodic, executive director of WWF-Brazil implored: "We need to protect and maintain healthy and productive forests."
He insists the Brazilian government needs to take firmer action in protecting these sites from illegal activities.
He also attributes blame to the corporate sector, saying that large companies need to make more of an effort when purchasing products in ensuring they are deforestation-free.
And whilst the devastation is over 5,000 miles away from the UK, it's important we don't lose sight of the enormous global impact the destruction of the Amazon will have.
As Sarah Hutchison, head of conservation programmed for Latin America WWF-UK said: "We can't stop a climate catastrophe without saving the Amazon. We in the UK have a role to play in halting the deforestation."
As part of this, the UK government must in turn refuse the importation of goods that cause deforestation and ban their sale in the UK.
Featured Image Credit: PA