The reintroduction of animals into nature helps to restore animal-plant interaction and ecological processes, contributing to the development of a healthy and balanced ecosystem. The fundamental ecological processes of ecosystems are the water cycle, the biogeochemical (or nutrient) cycle, energy flow and ecosystem dynamics, which contribute to the long-term maintenance of biodiversity. REGUA has been involved in programs for the reintroduction of locally extinct fauna, including Red-billed Currasow, Black-fronted Piping-guan and Lowland Tapir.
In 2005, the project to reintroduce the Red-billed Currasow (Crax blumenbachii) received approval from The Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA) and the first 20 birds, coming from the Instituto Crax breeding center in Belo Horizonte, went through a quarantine in the acclimatization compound along the Green Trail, being released in August 2006. All released birds were fitted with radio transmitters to be monitored by Christine Steiner of Institutos Isolados de Ensign Superior do Estate de São Paulo (UNESP) as part of a doctorate study. In 2007, another 20 individuals were released.
Red-billed curassow (Crax blumenbachi) - © REGUA
Black-fronted Piping-guan (Pipile jacutinga) is classified as 'Endangered" under the IUCN Red list of threatened species due to hunting activities and and the constant pressures on suitable habitat. In 2010 the “Programme for the Conservation of Game Birds in the Atlantic Forest: Reintroduction and Monitoring of Jacutingas (Pipile jacutinga)” was created🇧🇷 The programme was a requirement of the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation – ICMBio/APA Mananciais do Rio Paraíba do Sul in order to meet part of the environmental liability related to the installation license for the Caraguatatuba-Taubaté gas pipeline (GASTAU) built by Petrobras.
Black-fronted piping guan (Aburria jacutinga) - © REGUA
Phase I (2010-2013) of the program confirmed the rarity of the guan in the Serra do Mar Region and the need for urgent population reinforcement in order to avoid the local extinction of the species, considered Critically Endangered (CR) of extinction by the list of endangered animals in the state of São Paulo and Endangered (EN) according to the National list of December 2014. In the state of Rio de Janeiro the species is extinct, having been sighted for the last time in 1978 in Itatiaia and in 1980 in Serra of the Bodies; which led to the extension of the bird's reintroduction program to the Guapiaçu Ecological Reserve (REGUA).
Lesson on the tapir reintroduction program at REGUA with educator Joana Macedo (© Vitor Marigo).
Black-fronted piping guan on the branch - © REGUA
Phase I (2010-2013) of the programme confirmed the rarity of the guan in the Serra do Mar Region and the need for urgent population reinforcement in order to avoid the local extinction of the species. In addition to the specie's IUCN status it is also considered Critically Endangered (CR) of extinction by the list of endangered animals in the state of São Paulo and Endangered (EN) according to the National list of December 2014. In the state of Rio de Janeiro the species was extinct, having been sighted for the last time in 1978 in Itatiaia and in 1980 in Serra dos Órgãos; this led to the extension of the bird's reintroduction programme at REGUA.
Phase II (2014) was expected to last for five years. Concentrating on the reintroduction and monitoring of piping guans in the Serra da Mantiqueira region in São Francisco Xavier in Serra da Mantiqueira, in areas close to the Serra do Mar State Park – Núcleo Caraguatatuba /São Paulo and REGUA/Cachoeiras de Macacu, state of Rio de Janeiro . At the same time, a protocol for the reintroduction and monitoring of these birds was established so that it could be replicated in other places where the species is locally extinct.
Two individuals of Red-billed curassow - © REGUA
Four jacutingas Thaty, Lily, Coffee and Carmen from captivity (3 from UENF and 1 from Parque das Aves) spent 6 months in the Jacutinga Project rehabilitation nursery in São Francisco Xavier for predator recognition training (birds of prey, felines and dogs were used), food testing, flight and behavioural observations. After being considered fit for release into the wild, they were transferred to the acclimatisation compound at REGUA, where they spent a month before release. After reintroduction, they were monitored using radio location transmitters, active search and using the participation of the local community encouraging the practice of bird watching.
Black-fronted piping guan in the rehabilitation nursery -
The project carried out the first release in June 2016 with 12 individuals released in Serra da Mantiqueira and 6 in Serra do Mar, totaling 18 individuals. This project was carried out by SAVE Brasil and sponsored by Fundação Grupo Boticário in RJ and by Petrobras in SP. This project did not continue due to lack of funding.
Red-billed curassow (Crax blumenbachi) - © REGUA
The reintroduction of Lowland Tapir (Tapirus terrestris) at REGUA, a locally extinct species in the State of Rio de Janeiro for many years, began in 2017 with the arrival of three animals. This reintroduction is part of the list of projects promoted and carried out by the REFAUNA and in this case it is also being co-ordinated by the Laboratory of Ecology and Management of Wild Animals of the Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology of Rio de Janeiro (LEMAS-IFRJ🇧🇷 Fragmentation and habitat loss over time have negatively impacted medium and large mammal populations. Overhunting has led several mammal species to reach significant population reduction and species extinction.
Arrival of a new tapir (Tapirus terrestris) to the acclimatization area - © Vitor Marigo
Tapir feeding in the acclimatization area - © REGUA
Along with the reintroduction of these animals, research is being conducted on their ability to disperse seeds, spatial ecology, and other ecological interactions. We currently have 12 tapirs living in the REGUA forests, four of which were born in the wild. The animals have adapted very well to their new environment and the residents around REGUA support the reintroduction. This programme also has the support of the Guapiaçu Project and the ANTology project, which has the support of the Instituto de Ação Socioambiental (Asa) and funding from Furnas Energia. The objective is to establish a viable population that over time will disperse into the Três Picos State Park and other adjacent forest areas, also colonising the Central Fluminense Atlantic Forest Mosaic.
Monitoring of tapirs is conducted by REFAUNA and the ANTologia project.