The Cerrado is located at the center of the South American continent, between two major ecological zones including the Amazon Rainforest and the Atlantic Rainforest. The Cerrado is the biologically richest savanna region on Earth, as well as a 40-million year old biome.
This Neotropical savanna has lost 50% of its original vegetation cover, and yet it has received less attention than the Amazon Rainforest and the Atlantic Rainforest. National Parks alone provide a safe refuge for 8.3 % of the Cerrado. This is a very small amount of protected surface for such a biodiverse, wildlife-rich biome.
The Cerrado supports a wide variety of animal and plant species, including an exceptionally large number of endemic species. Not only that, the Cerrado also houses the richest vascular plant flora on the planet! This biome accounts for 30% of Brazilian biodiversity, and is home to 5% of the world’s biodiversity.
The Cerrado is a mixture of grasslands, gallery forests, and scrubs where can be found over 12,000 plant species and 200 mammal species (14 mammal species are endemics). Mammal species include Jaguar (Panthera onca), Cougar (Puma concolor), Ocelot (Leopardus pardalis), Jaguarundi (Puma yagouaroundi), Maned Wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus), Giant Anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla), Giant Armadillo (Priodontes maximus), Pampas Deer (Ozotoceros bezoarticus), Brazilian Tapir (Tapirus terrestris), Black-striped capuchin (Sapajus libidinosus), Black Howler (Alouatta caraya), Black-tufted marmoset (Callithrix penicillata) and more.
The Cerrado also harbors a wealth of bird species (around 900 different species, of which 10 are endemics). These include Red-legged Seriema (Cariama cristata), Crowned Solitary Eagle (Buteogallus coronatus), Hyacinth Macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus), Toco Toucan (Ramphastos toco), Buff-necked Ibis (Theristicus caudatus), Dwarf Tinamou (Taoniscus nanus), and Brazilian Merganser (Mergus octosetaceus), among others.