The Amazon River
The Amazon River flows for more than 4,100 miles (6,600 km); within its hundreds of tributaries and streams are the largest number of freshwater fish species in the world.
About 30 million people live in the Amazon, including more than 300 indigenous groups, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
Vast Rain Forest
The Amazon rain forest covers an area of 2.6 milloin square miles (6.7 million square kilometers), or twice the size of India, over eight countries: Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Suriname, Venezuela, plus French Guiana.
The tropical region is, as expected, warm and humid, with average temperatures of 82.2 (27.9 degrees Celsius) during the dry season and 78.4 F (25.8 C) during the rainy season – perfect for frogs like this Map Tree frog (Hypsiboas geographicus).
The Amazon is one of Earth's last refuges for numerous animals, including jaguars like this one. Jaguars are strong swimmers and climbers and require large areas to survive. However, according to WWF, hunting and habitat loss due to deforestatin threaten the survival of these marvelous cats.
A sloth at the edge of a forest in the Amazon.
Extinctions on the Way
Gloomy news? A study published in the July 13, 2012, issue of the journal Science found that with past deforestation and other threats to wildlife, more than 80 percent of species extinctions are still impending. Shown here, the stark forest edge of the Amazon.
Slash and burn in the Amazon.
Burning Shows No Bounds
During the last half century, the seemingly endless Amazon has lost at least 17 percent of its forest cover, according to WWF. Shown here, a burnt Amazon forest.
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Jeanna served as editor-in-chief of Live Science. Previously, she was an assistant editor at Scholastic's Science World magazine. Jeanna has an English degree from Salisbury University, a master's degree in biogeochemistry and environmental sciences from the University of Maryland, and a graduate science journalism degree from New York University. She has worked as a biologist in Florida, where she monitored wetlands and did field surveys for endangered species. She also received an ocean sciences journalism fellowship from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.