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18 June 2014
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About the Amazon journey

Bruce drinks from the source of the Amazon

In 2007 explorer Bruce Parry embarked on an epic journey down the Amazon to discover the stories of the people who live along the greatest river on Earth. A small film crew documented Bruce's breathtaking voyage from the Peruvian Andes to the Atlantic coast. The six-part series they created was shown on BBC Two in the Autumn of 2008. To relive the journey, you can see the footage, images and blogs sent back by Bruce and the team in the field, and updated regularly on this website*.

Log on and watch Bruce discover the Amazon and its surrounding areas: home to millions of people and the front line in an environmental war. Meet the members of the film crew and share in the highs and lows of filming the expedition. Experience the lives of the people Bruce will meet - characters from tribes and cattle ranches, logging companies and goldmines, the oil industry and the cocaine trade. Join the team online and become part of the adventure.

The television series Amazon was made for BBC Two by Indus Films.

*To protect the security of the crew, content was posted on the site three to five weeks after the day it was sent.

The end of the journey

Bruce jumps into the water at the port of Belem, where the Amazon river meets the sea

After nine months travelling along the Amazon Bruce finally reached the Atlantic Ocean. He had travelled 6800 km, from the source of the Amazon on Nevado Mismi to the point where the Amazon reaches the end of its journey - the sea. The journey had been hard. It had taken three months longer than expected and there had been four medical evacuations on the way. The crew got stuck on mud roads, faced engine problems on remote tributaries and on numerous occasions ran out of food.

On the way they heard the stories of the people of the Amazon: the tribespeople protecting their forest home; the cocaleros illegally selling coca leaf so they can send their children to school and the loggers who know no other way of life. They've dug gold, ranched cattle, witnessed oil spills and they've met the scientists researching the value of the forest to the entire globe.

On 10th June 2008 Bruce's journey came to its end.

Facts about the Amazon

  • The source of the Amazon begins on a slope of Nevado Mismi-a 18,363-foot-high (5,597-metre) mountain in southern Peru.
  • The Amazon river is 6800km compared with the Nile at 6695km (Source: BBC Online)
  • The Amazon forest covered about 5.4 million square kilometres in 2001, approximately 87% of its original coverage
  • The forest hosts a quarter of global biodiversity
  • Deforestation has concentrated in the "arc of deforestation" on the southern and eastern margins. 80% of deforestation has been in Brazil
  • In 2004 deforestation reached 27,400 square kilometres - an area greater than the size of Wales
  • Brazilian deforestation rates have fallen by 52% by 2006 to about 14,000 square kilometres because of the combined results of a decrease in prices for soya, increased strength of the Brazilian currency and active Brazilian government intervention
  • 16% of the Amazon is gone for ever
  • 50% of the Amazon could be gone by 2050. Once you go beyond 30 to 40% of deforestation you reduce rainfall
  • The Amazon is the most bio-diverse area in the world. The region is home to about 2.5 million insect species, tens of thousands of plants, and some 2000 birds and mammals. To date, at least 40,000 plant species, 3,000 fish, 1,294 birds, 427 mammals, 427 amphibians, and 378 reptiles have been scientifically classified in the region. Scientists have described between 96,660 and 128,843 invertebrate species in Brazil alone.
  • The diversity of plant species is the highest on earth with some experts estimating that one square kilometre may contain over 75,000 types of trees and 150,000 species of higher plants.
  • Today, there are around 350,000 Indians in Brazil in over 200 tribes. Between them they speak a huge number of languages; 110 of the tribal languages of Brazil have less than 400 speakers.
  • Brazil's tribes range in size from the Guarani and Yanomami, who number tens of thousands, to tribes such as the Akuntsu and Kanoê, who number only a few dozen.

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To protect the security of the crew, blogs are posted on the site three to five weeks after they are sent

Rob Sullivan says

Rob Sullivan

"We've done it. We've reached the port of Belem, the gateway of the Amazon..."

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