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Amazon Uakari Heritage Area
Mamirauá Reserve, Brazil

Amazon Uakari Heritage Area

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Mamirauá Reserve is the largest protected floodplain area in the world. Abundant in natural resources, it is home to several species, including Jaguar, Amazon River Dolphin, Black Caiman, Manatee, Bald-Headed Uakari and an endemic primate, the Black-headed Squirrel Monkey. Mamirauá is also an example of community conservation, where residents can use natural resources in a sustainable way.

Species or habitat details

The Bald-headed Uakari (Cacajao calvus) is one of the symbols of the Mamirauá Reserve. It gave its name to Uakari Lodge and is one of the species most sought after by tourists thanks to the work of biologist Marcio Ayres who arrived in the region in the early 1980s and developed his doctoral research in the region. The reserve was set up to protect the Uakari, but above all, to create a protected area where the local population also have their rights respected and can use the natural resources in a legal and sustainable way. 


The Mamirauá Reserve has been heavily exploited by traders from other Amazonian regions who moved to the region in search of all natural resources with economic value, especially wood and fish. With the creation of the reserve and the implementation of management that gave legal access to local populations, most of these problems have ended. However, now that natural resources have been protected and populations have grown, Mamirauá has once again become the target of illegal fishermen, who leave urban areas to catch fish with great commercial value, such as arapaima and tambaqui.

Did you know?

The Arapaima is the largest freshwater scale fish in the world. Experienced fishermen can count how many individuals of Arapaima there are in an area just by looking at the animals that come up for air. This traditional knowledge was fundamental for the creation of guidelines for the sustainable management of the species.

Mamirauá jaguars are adapted to the floodplain environment. Scientific research shows that they remain in the reserve even when the water level is high, when they live in the tree tops. In the dry season, they feed on caiman, but in the flooded season their diet is based on arboreal mammals, such as howler monkeys and sloths.

If it weren't for the Bald-Headed Uakari, the Mamirauá Reserve would not exist. After researching the species in the 1980s, biologist Marcio Ayres sought to create a reserve to protect the Uakari and create a protected area where the local population had their rights respected and could use the natural resources in a legal and sustainable way.

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Why visit a Wildlife Heritage Area?


Visitors to Wildlife Heritage Areas can take part in outstanding wildlife watching experiences that put wildlife first. Staying in a Wildlife Heritage Area helps local communities invest in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, benefitting community well-being and driving forward sustainable practices.

Designated for excellence

Communities achieve Wildlife Heritage Area designation by playing a central role in protecting wild animals and their habitats. With support from responsible travel organisations and wildlife experts, these communities are committed to help turn the tide on biodiversity loss and the climate crisis, adopt a zero tolerance for wildlife suffering in tourism, and advocate for positive change through a willingness to collaborate.


Márcio Ayres, Amazonian primatologist

Márcio Ayres, Amazonian primatologist

In the early 1980s, Márcio Ayres, an Amazonian primatologist began studying the Bald-headed Uakari. He was from the state of Pará, where he lived and studied until he completed his doctorate at Cambridge.

Marcio Ayres, however, had an eye on the future. From studying the ecology and behavior of the Uakari, he began to understand the relationship of local human populations to...

Jaguar Expedition

Jaguar Expedition

Although Jaguars are the subject of huge interest, admiration and are part of the cultures of indigenous and riverside peoples, they are also considered a threat to the lives of people and livestock.

Jaguars are also of interest for science. Researchers from the Mamirauá Institute have been studying this species, seeking to learn more about its behavior, diet, population and...

Indigenous recognition

Indigenous recognition

The Mamirauá Reserve is full of history and when visiting Uakari Lodge tourists have the opportunity to visit a local community. This idea was started by the communities themselves as a way to show visitors what life is like and as a way to share their pride in being farmers or fishermen providing for their entire community organisation.

Unfortunately, there is still great...