Save Brazil’s cherry-throated tanagers

This video says about itself:

Cherry-throated Tanager – Saíra-apunhalada – Nemosia rourei

NE Brazil Birding – DEC 2012 Tour – First video of one of the rarest birds in the world!!!

Taken in Vargem Alta – Espírito Santo – South-east Brazil – with my friend and guide Gustavo Magnago.

From BirdLife:

17 May 2017

Ravaged by deforestation – but a new refuge brings hope for the Cherry-throated Tanager

Over 85% of Brazil’s Atlantic Forest has been felled over the last few hundred years – but life continues to cling to the fragments that remain. A newly-created reserve will ensure that one of these fragments, along with the six globally-threatened birds it harbours, will endure for the foreseeable future

Just five hundred years ago, the Atlantic Forest formed a thick green blanket across the east coast of Brazil. Then settlers arrived from Europe, sparking one of the most terrifying rates of deforestation the world has ever seen.

Today, plantations and quarries stand where 88% of the Atlantic Forest once proudly stood. All that remains of this vital ecosystem today are scattered patches of degraded, fragmented forest.

The decimation of the Atlantic Forest is an ongoing tragedy for biodiversity. Despite only being a fraction of its former glory, the Atlantic Forest is still home to a huge number of plants and animals – enough, in fact, to rival the more famous Amazon. Even in its current state, new species are being discovered all the time in the fragments that remain – or in the case of the Critically Endangered (CR) Cherry-throated Tanager Nemosia rourei, rediscovered.

This colourful tanager was known only from a single shot specimen in 1870 for many decades, before its dramatic rediscovery in the 1990s. However, the species remains staggeringly rare, with an estimated global population of less than 200 adult birds. It may be that there are further populations out there skulking in as-yet unexplored fragments, but for now all we can do is protect the habitats that host the populations we do know about.

And this week, there was a major advancement on this front – the establishment of a 1,688 hectare refuge protecting one of the last strongholds of this beleaguered species. The newly-created Águia Branca Private Reserve now represents the second largest private protected area in the Brazillian state of Espírito Santo.

SAVE Brasil (BirdLife Partner) has been acting in the region since 2005, and has supported Grupo Águia Branca (one of the country’s largest transportation and logistics companies) in the creation of this private reserve, which is located between two state parks, Forno Grande, and Pedra Azul.  For many years SAVE Brasil has also been working along the state government for the creation of a 4,300 hectare wildlife refuge adjacent to the private reserve. The public consultations were held in April 2016, but the process is still ongoing.

This area, which is recognized by BirdLife as a priority IBA (Important Bird & Biodiversity Area), is home to over 250 bird species, of which six are globally threatened – none more so than the Cherry-throated Tanager.

The cherry-throated tanager occurs primarily in the canopy of humid montane forests at elevations between 850 to 1,250 meters.  Single individuals or groups of up to ten birds can be found and they are occasionally associated with mixed-species flocks. The population is estimated at only 50-249 individuals.  Sadly, occasional records are always of small groups of 2-3 individuals observed at the same site, which indicates that the same individuals are observed over and over. Therefore, there may be less than 50 individuals in the world.

The Caetés region is also important for five other globally threatened birds: White-necked Hawk Leucopternis lacernulata, Brown-backed Parrotlet Touit melanonotus, Golden-tailed Parrotlet Touit surdusVinaceous Amazon Amazona vinacea  and the Bare-throated Bellbird Procnias nudicollis.  Threatened mammals also occur in this region, including the endangered Buffy-headed Marmoset Callithrix flaviceps and the Brown-throated Sloth Bradypus variegatus.

The creation of the private reserve represents an important victory for the long-term conservation of the these species, and it is hoped that it will accelerate the process to create the proposed public protected area, protecting a total of 6,000 hectares of a unique Atlantic Forest habitat. Now, that really would be the cherry on top.

Piranhas in Brazil, video

This video says about itself:

Piranha Feeding Frenzy – Planet Earth – BBC Earth

24 March 2017

In the slow flowing waters of the Pantanal, over 300 species of fish can be found. Two common predators that patrol these immense wetlands of Brazil are the Red Bellied Piranha and the Dorado, known locally as the River Tiger.

New marsupial species discovery in Brazil

THis video from the USA says about itself:

8 May 2012

My daughter’s grandfather captured this video of a mother [Virginia] opossum transporting 15 baby opossums on her back. Amazing!

From National Geographic:

New Redheaded Opossum Named After Magical Gnome

The rat-size marsupial prowls the tropical rain forests of northern Brazil at night.

By Carrie Arnold

PUBLISHED February 23, 2017

A chance finding at a Brazilian museum has revealed a brand-new species of opossum.

Biologist Silvia Pavan first discovered an unnamed mammal specimen with rich mahogany fur in 2008 at the Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi in Belém.

The rat-size marsupial’s reddish head inspired its name: Monodelphis saci.

Brazilian folklore features a gnome called the saci (pronounced sah-SEE), who wears a magical red cap that lets him disappear and reappear at will. (See “Unbelievably Cute Mammal With Teddy Bear Face Rediscovered.”)

Just like the saci, the new species of opossum has a red cap—and had been hiding in plain sight.

“I analyzed the specimen right away when it was brought to the museum, and I noticed it didn’t have a name,” says Pavan, lead author of the new study in the journal American Museum Novitates.

After that, she was able to find other specimens representing the same unnamed species in Brazilian collections.

Playing Possum

Opossums evolved in the South American tropics; several dozen species live in the Americas, but only the Virginia opossum made it as far north as the United States.

All opossum species are nocturnal omnivores, eating a range of fruit, insects, and small mammals—a flexibility that has allowed them to spread far and wide. (Read how opossum blood may help snakebite victims.)

As part of her Ph.D. work at the American Museum of Natural History, Pavan wanted to piece together the opossum family tree. But with so many species sprinkled across so many habitats, Pavan went to museums to supplement her search for opossums in the wild.

After she came across the gnome opossum, her colleagues traveled to the source—Itaituba I National Forest in Pará, Brazil—to see if they could find live animals.

Mysterious Marsupials

Pavan’s colleagues set up a series of humane pitfall traps—basically small buckets that capture opossums as they prowl the tropical rain forest at night.

To her surprise, Pavan discovered several more gnome opossums in her buckets. (Also see “Newly Discovered Carnivore Looks Like Teddy Bear.”)

“They’re not really that rare, but they only appeared in scientific collections relatively recently when people started using the pitfall traps,” she says.

The species doesn’t appear to be threatened with extinction, though more people have been collecting the animal in the wild in the weeks since her discovery was announced, she says.

Guillermo D’Elia, a biologist at the Austral University of Chile in Valdivia, says there are likely more marsupials to be identified.

“I am pretty sure there are several new species of opossum to come in the future,” D’Elia says, “now that researchers are collecting in new areas, rechecking museum specimens, and using DNA.”