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This cover of National Geographic magazine is entitled Conversations with a Gorilla, with Koko the gorilla snapping a photograph of her reflection in the mirror. Canoes are vital for transportation on the rain forest rivers of the Republic of the Congo. Limited space in dense rain forests results in many unique plants, like this fig tree in the Philippines, which produces fruit on runners that come from its trunk instead of on its branches.
Streams on Costa Rica’s remote Osa Peninsula flow through one of the world’s outstanding examples of lowland tropical rain forest, protected here by Corcovado National Park. A species of mushroom called Amanita muscaria or fly agaric dots the floor of a temperate coastal rain forest in the Canadian province of British Columbia.
The rhinoceros hornbill is named for its characteristic “casque,” the strange structure situated on top of the bird’s bill. Brazil's Atlantic forest rivals the Amazon with its eye-popping array of unique plants and animals, yet its proximity to Rio de Janeiro and other cities puts it at even greater risk.


The National Geographic Society aims to be an international leader for global conservation and environmental sustainability. The photo was of such high quality and significance that it was chosen to be the cover photo for the October 1978 National Geographic article featuring Koko. The Congo Basin’s 500 million acres of tropical forest, second-largest in the world after the Amazon, are known for an incredible array of wildlife including great apes, forest elephants, and some 700 species of river fish. Costa Rica’s signature park boasts an array of colorful flora and fungi and an amazing variety of larger animals, from estuary-dwelling crocodiles to secretive jaguars. Identified by the white patches on its cap, this species of fungus can grow up to a foot high with a top as big as a dinner plate in some regions.It is referred to as the fly agaric because people have been known to use pieces of the mushroom to attract and kill flies. Unlike these familiar faces, the majority of rain forest species are yet to be named, formally described, or analyzed. The uses of this “horn” aren’t fully understood but casques may play a role in attracting mates or amplifying bird calls.


When individuals pledge to use less water in their own lives, our partners carry out restoration work in the Colorado River Basin. Developmental psychologist Francine Patterson spent six years with Koko teaching her sign language and this led Patterson and other researchers to believe Koko displayed evidence of linguistic capabilities.
They typically live in pairs and are known for an amazing nesting strategy during which the male seals up the female inside a hollow tree, leaving only a tiny beak hole through which to feed her and their young. Rain forest plants, for example, produce chemicals to combat insects and disease that have led to the development of many beneficial drugs. But rain forests around the world are being deforested at alarming rates—even as many of their species and secrets remain unknown to humans.



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