The Amazon rainforest is the biggest in the world, larger than the next two biggest combined. It covers over 3 million square miles, roughly the size of the lower 48 states. For this reason, it functions as a critical sink for carbon in the atmosphere.
Filoviruses have devastating effects on people and primates, as evidenced by the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. For nearly 40 years, preventing spillovers has been hampered by an inability to pinpoint which wildlife species harbor and spread the viruses.
A constitutional amendment being discussed in the Brazilian Senate threatens to set back decades of conservation efforts in the Amazon.
One of the crowning achievements for wildlife protection in the US was the establishment of the National Wildlife Refuge system in the 1930s, when the populations of waterfowl were perilously low. Refuges provided breeding and migratory habitat that has allowed a remarkable recovery of many species of ducks and geese.