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Found: 381 New Amazon Species

Pink dolphins and orange-tailed monkeys were hiding in the forest.

The confluence of two rivers in the Amazon.
The confluence of two rivers in the Amazon. Zig Koch/WWF

About a week ago, late in August, the government of Brazil announced that it would open 17,800 square miles of the Amazon, an area known as the National Reserve of Copper and Associates, or Renca, to commercial mining. The reserve is known to be a rich resource of gold and other valuable minerals, but it’s also rich in other natural resources—rare birds, plants, insects, frogs, fish, and other creatures.

As if to underscore the point, the Mamirauá Institute for Sustainable Development and the World Wildlife Fund released a new report this week detailing the discovery by science of hundreds of incredible Amazon species, reports The Independent. According to the report, in 2014 and 2015, scientists identified 381 previously undescribed species, putting the rate of discovery at one new species every two days.

The report includes 216 plants, 93 fish, 32 amphibians, and smaller numbers of mammals, reptiles, and birds. The most striking species include a pink river dolphin, with a population of just 1,000, a titi monkey with a bright orange tail, and a stingray whose surface looks like a honeycomb. These animals are all at risk from human activities, particularly farming and logging, as the BBC reports.

The incredible extent of biodiversity in the Amazon is still being uncovered; we don’t even know what we’ll be missing as we diminish these forests. There are people who recognize this danger and are ready to fight for the Amazon. A Brazilian judge has already suspended the government decree that would have allow mining in the Renca reserve.