This region encompasses an enormous diversity of landforms and environments, from the Andes to the Amazon, from the Orinoco Delta to Tierra del Fuego. Cloud forests, high plains and flooded forests support unique species.
The Amazon Basin is the largest tract of tropical forest in the world and the Amazon itself carries one fifth of the world’s fresh river water. Active volcanoes in the Andes mountain chain continue to change the landscape. This complex, dynamic landscape provides opportunities for plant species to diversify and in turn support many different types of animals.
Jaguars, sloths, toucans and hummingbirds are just some of the extraordinary animals of South America. The region is home to nearly half the world’s bird species and a quarter of its mammal species. Many species are specialist feeders, so a great diversity of animals can coexist in one ecosystem.
In the Wild exhibition we have many animals from Neotropic on display. The Regional Animals box at right contains a selection, with information about why they are special and how they are faring in the wild.