Forests of the World
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Toys & Kits: Balata Rubber Play Sets

Chess Set (32 pieces plus board)

Noah's Ark (40 pieces)

Nativity (12 pieces)


Individual Animal Collections

  • African Animals
  • Marine Mammals
  • North American Animals
  • South American Animals

animal collection prices:

  • Mini (2 oz): $8.95
  • Small (4 oz): $13.50
  • Medium (6 oz): $17.95
  • Large (8 oz): $22.50
  • Giant (40 oz): $149.95


These life-like animal and human figures not only entertain but also educate us on the importance of diversity of life in the rainforests of South America and around the world. Each piece is a hand-crafted work of art and comes with information on the Macushi People, the natural history of the animals created, and the materials used to make them.

Rainforest Rubber

All of these figures are made from a natural latex rubber, called balata. Balata is extracted from the bulletwood tree (Manilkara bidebtata), member of a large family of latex producing trees, native to the northern Amazon.

Balata is tapped from a tree similarly to the way chicle (natural chewing gum) or maple syrup is harvested. The outer skin of the bulletwood tree is nicked in an "x" pattern with a machete, which causes the protective white sap to ooze forth. The sap is collected at the tree's base. This sap can be repeatedly tapped, year after year, for the life of the tree.

Then, the latex is heated, dyes are added, and people hand-mold figures like the ones you see here.

The bulletwood tree can reach a height of over 40 meters (120 ft.) and a base diameter of 3 meters. It is one of the largest trees in the rainforest. Natural rubber is used in a wide range of products, from gaskets to golf balls.

The Macushi People

These crafts were harvested, collected, and handcrafted by the Macushi tribe, well known as skilled artisans for their beautiful handicrafts.

The tribe is indigenous to the forests of the Kanuku mountains, an area of southern Guyana that was recently declared a National Park and World Heritage Site. One of the most pristine and biologically diverse regions on Earth, it has the world's highest population density of harpy eagles, the largest bird of prey in the world.

Diminishing wildlife, cultural assimilation, loss of territory and invasion by settlers are a severe threat to the community's survival. Your purchase provides the Macushi People with needed goods and services, and importantly, helps to maintain their cultural identity.

The sustainable harvest of these materials, and the manufacture of these products, provides employment that creates economic incentives to keep forests standing. The sale of these products also supports Conservation International's Enterprise Program to promote sustainable business and the conservation of biodiversity in the region.

Product Care:

Do not expose to direct sunlight or heat. Moisturize with skin lotion if dry or every 3 months.

Forests of the World, LLC
1410 Cross St. / Durham, NC 27701
(919) 957-1500 / info @