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© Michel Roggo / WWF

Amazon's animal "athletes"

As the world turns to Brazil to witness inspiring feats of greatness, we are reminded of the prowess and power beyond the games in the nearby Amazon. The Amazon’s animal “athletes” demonstrate skill and strength humans can only envy.

The Amazon is home not only to home to these amazing animals but one in ten of all known species in the world. More than 30 million people also call its forests home. The Amazon helps provide the air we breathe and its river and tributaries hold 20% of the river water on Earth.

WWF is working to help secure a future for the Amazon through programs like ARPA - the largest rainforest conservation project in history. Protecting the Amazon’s precious and vital habitat is a win for nature and all of us.

© Staffan Widstrand / WWF Regional

Jaguar – the speedster

Known more for its jump - the word jaguar means
“he who kills with one leap” - this cat can also reach
speeds of up to 50 mph at a short distance.
That’s nearly twice the speed of the fastest human!

© petographer/Alamy Stock Photo

Anaconda - the wrestler

This is one opponent no one wants to go up against.
The world’s largest snake, the anaconda attacks quickly
and coils itself around its prey. The snake’s body
constricts until the prey is successfully suffocated.

© Brent Stirton / Getty Images / WWF

© Nick Garbutt/

Harpy eagle - the diver

The harpy eagle rules the upper canopy of the rainforest.
It can snatch its prey at high speed, diving up to 50 mph.
With a wingspan that reaches up to 6 feet, the harpy eagle
is a powerful predator, lifting prey up to half its body weight.

© Jouan & Ruis/

Sloth - the gymnast

Not generally known for its athletic prowess, the sloth
has major hanging power. Curved claws help them suspend
from branches for hours at time. Sloths eat, sleep and even give birth while hanging from trees.

© Edward Parker / WWF

© Kevin Schafer

Amazon River dolphin - the synchronized swimmers

With standout looks (pink hue, elongated snout), these dolphins also demonstrate remarkable flexibility.
They can turn their heads in any direction and their flippers allow them to move in circular motions. Both helpful skills
as they navigate through vegetation and flooded forests in their river home. These dolphins undoubtedly understand
the power of performance too, as males have been known
to carry branches, vegetation or balls of clay in their mouths
in order to attract mates.

© Michel Roggo / WWF Regional

Macaw - the fans

Found in groups of 20 or more, macaws make loud vocalizations that can carry for a couple of kilometers.
During the day, they blend into the sky but perched in
the treetops there’s no mistaking these vibrant and vocal
icons of the Amazon.

© J.J. Huckin / WWF-US Regional