The Reserva Ecolôgica do Xixuaú - Xiparinã is situated on the right hand bank of the Rio Jauaperí which marks the border between the Brazilian states of Amazonas and Roraima. The reserve measures 172.000 hectares and is the only private nature reserve of this type in the Brazilian Amazon.
The reserve was founded in 1992 and has since then been the site of a number of research projects with institutions like the National Amazon Research Institute (INPA), the University of Amazonas and the FNS (National Health Foundation) of Brazil, the Universita' la Sapienza of Rome (Italy), the University of Birmingham (UK), the Institute for the Quality of Life (Denmark) and the Colorado Springs High School (USA), Embrapa Roraima, the University of Siena (Italy) and the University of Salerno (Italy).
The reserve consists entirely of primary forest and is home to many species of animal in danger of extinction elsewhere in the Amazon. The Brazilian giant otter, subject of an 18 month study with the Aquatic Mammals laboratory of INPA, manatees, both species of river dolphin, black caiman, a number of species of turtle, snakes like the coral and the anaconda and a multitude of fish.
The jungle is inhabited by monkeys, marmosets, tamanduas, sloths, ocelot, jaguar, tapirs, anteaters, armadillos, peccaries, pacas, etc.
Situated just south of the Equator all the typical rain forest birds are present.
Access to the reserve is exclusively by boat. From the city of Manaus where the Association has its headquarters, the journey is of approx, 500 kms along the Rio Negro and then the Rio Jauaperí. This journey takes between 30 and 40 hours depending on the season and water level. During the high water season, from March to September, the reserve presents huge tracts of Igapó' and during the low water season the aquatic life becomes highly concentrated and rock formations and sandy beaches emerge from the river. This creates a natural barrier to the area which is one of the factors that has ensured the richness of biodiversity.
Total protection of the wildlife over a period of several years has led to a facility of observation of the animals in the Xixuaú which, coupled with the transparency of the water, has made the reserve the site of 6 wildlife documentaries with companies like the BBC, Survival Anglia, RAI Italian Tv and Danish national television. Projects are currently about to begin with ICON FILMS in Bristol, UK and the BBC Natural History Unit.
The Association has also begun a series of social projects for the native Caboclo inhabitants of the Rio Jauaperí, including the building of a health post and a school.
The health post has seen the creation of a project between the Association, the University of Amazonas, the Manaus Tropical Hospital and the University of Siena (Italy) for the treating and eliminating of problems like malaria and hepatitis.
In June 1996 the Associação Amazônia instigated the formation of the first permanent working group between Italy and Amazônia, hosted by The Istituto Italo-Latino Americano in Rome. The aim of this group is to elaborate projects of sustainable development and scientific research at a multidisciplinary level, initially in the Xixuaú - Xiparinã Reserve. The first project of the group was an expedition in August 1997 to study plants with medicinal properties in the reserve, run jointly by the University of Salerno (Italy) and EMBRAPA of Roraima. Results of this mission will be available soon. At the same time the Dept. of Infectious Diseases of the University of Siena began a project to help combat malaria in the Jauaperí. Blood and feces samples were taken from over 400 inhabitants along the river, currently suffering the worst ever malaria epidemic the region has known. This project is a continuation and development of our collaboration between the Association health Post, the University of Siena and the FNS in Manaus. Again results should be published in the near future. Both Projects were financed by The Istituto Italo Latino Americano and by Roberto Imperiali.
The Associação Amazônia is also member of the IUCN European Working Group on Amazônia, in Brussels.
The reserve centre consists of a series of Maloca hut constructions with accommodation for 15 people, equipped with bathrooms, kitchen etc. The reserve guards are specialized in accompanying foreign researchers and film makers and this makes the Xixuaú -Xiparinã an excellent site for this type of work.
The Association aims to continue developing these activities and to
this end is constantly looking for new projects and partners.