AMAZONAS, BRAZIL -- The Government of the Brazilian State of Amazonas has created a new reserve in the Amazon, thus establishing the world's largest contiguous block of protected rainforest, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), headquartered at the Bronx Zoo, announced today.
Called the Amaña Sustainable Development Reserve, it is the third of a network of protected areas in the Central Amazon Basin that together, comprise over 22,000 square miles of unbroken habitat -- an area larger than Costa Rica.
The reserve will be managed under a legal category in Brazil created in 1996 at the adjacent Mamirauá Reserve, which permits residence in protected areas and encourages local participation in their conservation. The Amaña region is known for its spectacular and untouched biodiversity including endangered Amazonian manatees, black caiman, river dolphins, anacondas, jaguars, black uakari monkeys, harpy eagles, and a wealth of plants and aquatic life.
Dr. José Márcio Ayres, senior conservation zoologist with the Wildlife Conservation Society, designed and wrote the reserve's management scheme.
"The creation of the Amaña Reserve is one of the most important measures taken in the Brazilian Amazon in the past decade. It establishes a new vision in conservation in the region, where rainforest corridors will protect not only species but entire evolutionary and ecological processes. It also preserves the unique biodiversity of the Amazon's black and white river systems. In addition, this solidifies the formation of the Central Amazonian Corridor that will protect Amazonian flooded and dryland forests," said Ayres.