Brazilian state aims for "Zero Extinctions"

The Amazon rainforest is rapidly disappearing, and with it goes the only habitats for thousands of rare, threatened and endangered species.

But now 181 of those endangered species have support in the Brazilian state of Pará, which yesterday launched the "Zero Extinction Program" to protect threatened species and habitats.

Why Pará? Simple: it may be the keystone state for preserving the Amazon in Brazil.

While Pará is the second largest Brazilian Amazon state (1.25 million km2, roughly twice the size of Texas), it is first in terms of Amazon deforestation. Of the 679,899 km2 of cleared Amazon rainforest, 202,906 km2 are in Pará.

The program includes a red list of endangered species, species recovery plans, and identification of what it calls "Key Biodiversity Areas" for conservation.

Will Pará be able to stem the tide of Amazon destruction? Only time will tell, but this is an important first step.