The primary threat to the Amazon rain forest is man. Humans remove trees for lumber, to provide land for cattle and crops, and to mine minerals. The removal of trees is deforestation.
According to National Geographic, more than half of the rain forests in the world are already lost to human activity. While rain forests once accounted for more than 14 percent of the surface of the earth, they now only cover 6 percent.
As of 2014, the Amazon rain forest covers 1.7 billion acres. The trees of the rain forest provide oxygen for the world. It is home to more than 40,000 species of plants, several thousand species of fish and hundreds of species of reptiles, birds and amphibians. There are large hairy spiders, piranhas, jaguars and cougars living in the forest. Indigenous people are found along the banks of the river.
While many people fear going into the Amazon, others find it an interesting place to visit. Tourism has both positive and negative effects on the rain forest. Allowing visitors into the area brings financial gain to the local people and decreases the smuggling of animals from the area. It raises the awareness of the plight of the rain forest and animals. However, it potentially invades the privacy of indigenous people and causes further damage to endangered species.