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Amazon rainforest: Marvel of nature and unrivaled ecosystem in size and diversity
"A childhood dream of visiting the Amazon rainforest is finally fulfilled. Visited the unspoilt and fabulous Madidi National Park accessible only by boat along with the pampas. What an experience! Camping, night walks, fishing for piranhas, building a raft and sailing down the river on the raft. Saw quite an array of wildlife animals, reptiles, birds and butterflies too," wrote on her Facebook Deepali Nimbalkar, an environmental scientist from Pune and ex-student who is on a tour of seven natural wonders of the world.

To the environmentalists, the Amazon basin is a marvellous ecosystem of unrivalled size and diversity that travellers almost find it mythical. The Amazon River provides gliding experience in a canoe through with numerous opportunities for long hikes.

The Amazon rainforest includes territory belonging to nine nations. The majority of the forest is contained within Brazil, with 60 per cent of the rainforest, followed by Peru Colombia Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana.

It is said that comprises the largest and most bio-diverse tract of tropical rainforest in the world, with an estimated 390 billion individual trees divided into 16,000 species. This constitutes the largest collection of living plants and animal species in the world that is full of thousands and thousands of rivers and streams.

However, environmentalists are concerned about loss of and the release of the carbon contained within the vegetation as well as increasing deforestation and drying effect of dead trees that fuels forest fires.

Both Jungle Tours and Amazon Gero Tours are popular along the river that last typically from five to 10 days.  Manaus is the region's largest city, which provides a convenient route into the jungle.  Many tourists also visit the town of Alter do Chao and visit to local rubber-tapper communities.

In the river, long distance boat travel is a great experience by itself with days of travel and sleeping in hammocks and having glimpses of wildlife and nature.

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