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Save the Capybara and the Amazon

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Sponsor: The Rainforest Site

Deforestation is putting the capybara and countless other species at risk of extinction. Call on Congress to reduce our contribution to deforestation in the Amazon!

The Amazon Rainforest is one of the most biodiverse and ecologically significant regions on Earth1. It is home to a staggering array of species, including the largest rodent in the world – the capybara2. These adorable, water-loving creatures are an essential part of the Amazon's delicate ecosystem, but they are now under threat due to deforestation.

Deforestation in the Amazon is an urgent issue that demands attention. The Amazon Rainforest is a crucial carbon sink, absorbing vast amounts of carbon dioxide and helping to regulate the Earth's climate. However, this vital ecosystem is under threat from rampant deforestation, driven by industries such as agriculture and logging3.

Studies show mining, oil and gas exploration, dam building, and agricultural expansion are all contributing to the destruction of this vital ecosystem4. The consequences of these activities are significant, and they go beyond the loss of habitat for species such as the capybara.

One of the most severe consequences of deforestation is the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. When forests are destroyed, the carbon stored in the trees is released into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change5. Deforestation in the Amazon is responsible for approximately 10% to 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions6.

In addition to the climate impact, deforestation is also contributing to soil degradation, erosion, and water pollution7. Trees play a vital role in protecting the soil and regulating water cycles. When they are removed, the soil becomes exposed to the elements, leading to erosion and loss of nutrients. This, in turn, affects water quality and can lead to flooding downstream.

If deforestation in the Amazon continues at the current rate, the rainforest could become a dry savannah8. This would be disastrous for thousands of land mammals, including the beloved capybara, who rely on the forest for their survival. Capybaras are not only essential to the Amazon's ecosystem, but they are also fascinating creatures in their own right9.

Capybaras are semi-aquatic mammals that live in family groups near bodies of water10. They are excellent swimmers, spending much of their time in the water, and can stay submerged for up to five minutes at a time. Capybaras are also known for their distinctive barks, which sound like a cross between a dog's bark and a bird's chirp. They are intelligent11, social animals that live in large groups and are an important source of food for predators such as jaguars and anacondas12.

Despite their importance, capybaras are facing significant threats from deforestation in the Amazon13. As their habitat disappears, these gentle creatures are forced to compete for resources and face increased risks from predators. The loss of capybaras would have a profound impact on the Amazon's ecosystem, potentially leading to imbalances that could be difficult to reverse.

The Amazon Rainforest is home to more than 10% of the world's known species, making it one of the most biodiverse regions on Earth14. The loss of this unique and precious ecosystem would have far-reaching consequences, affecting not only the Amazonian species but also the global climate and the livelihoods of millions of people who depend on the forest for their survival.

But there is hope. Legislators in a previous Congress tried and failed to pass the FOREST Act15, which would have prohibited the importation of products that contribute to deforestation in the Amazon, a significant step towards protecting the rainforest and all the creatures that call it home, including the capybara. Although this bill was not enacted, its provisions could have become law by being included in another bill, and could yet prevent U.S. contributions to deforestation in the Amazon by prohibiting products linked to illegal deforestation from being sold in the U.S.

By supporting the policies originally written in the FOREST Act, we can help ensure that the Amazon remains a vibrant, biodiverse ecosystem that is home to capybaras and countless other species. Sign the petition and call on Congress to ensure the FOREST Act is not forgotten, and protect the Amazon and its precious inhabitants!

More on this issue:

  1. Ashley Thomson, Greenpeace (22 May 2020), "Biodiversity and the Amazon Rainforest."
  2. Rainforest Alliance (2023), "Capybara."
  3. Rachel Pennett, The Washington Post (16 July 2021), "The Amazon rainforest is the world’s carbon sink. Parts of it now release more carbon than can be absorbed.."
  4. Anthony J. Bebbington, Denise Humphreys Bebbington, Laura Aileen Sauls, Ricardo Verdum, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (3 December 2018), "Resource extraction and infrastructure threaten forest cover and community rights."
  5. Timothy R. H. Pearson, Sandra Brown, Lara Murray, Gabriel Sidman, Carbon Balance and Management volume (14 February 2017), "Greenhouse gas emissions from tropical forest degradation: an underestimated source."
  6. Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment (10 February, 2023), "What is the role of deforestation in climate change and how can 'Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation'."
  7. Lauren Bennett, Climate Institute (18 April 2017), "Deforestation and Climate Change."
  8. Jenny McKee, Audubon (8 March 2022), "The Amazon Could Soon Transition to a Dry, Savanna-like Ecosystem."
  9. Kelby, Sciencing (30 September 2021), "The Ecosystem of the Amazon Rainforest."
  10. A-Z Animals (2023), "Capybara."
  11. Capybara Tips (18 March 2022), "Are Capybaras Smarter Than Dogs – [Answered]."
  12. Tumblr, "Animals Sitting on Capybaras."
  13. Brandon Wegrowski, Ballard Brief (2019), "Deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest."
  14. World Wildlife Fund for Nature (2020), "Inside the Amazon."
  15. Brian Schatz, 117th Congress (Oct 6, 2021), "S. 2950 (117th): FOREST Act of 2021."
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The Petition:

Dear Members of Congress,

We urge you to take action to protect our planet's precious resources by reintroducing S. 2950 (117th): FOREST Act of 2021 or folding its provisions into a new bill. This legislation is critical for combatting illegal deforestation and protecting vulnerable species like the capybara, whose habitat is being destroyed at an alarming rate.

The Amazon rainforest is one of the most important ecosystems on earth, providing oxygen, regulating the climate, and serving as a home to countless species of plants and animals. However, the rainforest is under threat from illegal deforestation, which is leading to the destruction of this vital habitat and putting countless species at risk of extinction.

The FOREST Act of 2021 would have taken a strong stance against the importation of products made from illegally deforested land. This would have sent a clear message that the United States is committed to protecting the Amazon rainforest and the species that call it home.

We understand that bills sometimes fail to pass in their original form, but we implore you to reintroduce the FOREST Act of 2021 or carrying over those provisions in a new bill. The consequences of inaction are too great to ignore. Illegal deforestation is a pressing issue that demands urgent attention, and we cannot afford to delay any longer.

We ask that you prioritize the protection of our planet's resources and take action to combat illegal deforestation. By reintroducing the FOREST Act of 2021 or including its provisions in a new bill, you can make a significant difference in protecting the Amazon rainforest and the species that are being driven to extinction.

Thank you for your time and attention to this critical issue.


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