All posts by Nicholas Locke

Nicholas attends International course in Dresden

Nicholas Locke, REGUA President was invited by Dresden Technical University and André Lindner to attend their 71st UNEP/UNESCO/BMUB International Short Course on Ecosystem Management – Conservation of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services – click here for their blog.

Nicholas Locke (© Alan Martin)

Nicholas reports as follows:

“The hosts and group have  been wonderful and the results show that all that we do at REGUA is extremely relevant to many across the globe.   The problems we face are all the same and when REGUA is presented as a case study, we can clearly see why we should all be proud of our achievements.   The success comes from a well knit team with shared objectives, together with support from visitors and donors who believe in our capacity to deliver.

Though every day is a challenge, we are capable of making the difference in a world that desperately needs successful examples.

A big thank you to André Lindner and Dresden Technical University for inviting me.”

To see what we have achieved so far, take a look at the REGUA film, Narrated by Michael Palin, produced by Verity White/Five Films, soundtrack by Matthew Sheeran.

Forest Fire

When fire broke out on land adjoining REGUA (a hillside opposite Matumbo`s small supermarket), our well-rehearsed team went immediately into effective action before the Fire Brigade arrived from Cachoeiras de Macacu town.   With a very hot wind the flames were blown onto REGUA land.
Smouldering fire damage (© Nicholas Locke)
The fire brigade and Regua team got the fire under control.   With no hesitation or thought for their own safety, all available staff fought with energy and courage, saving many of our young trees.
Fires together with hot weather create a lot of damage but thanks to a quick team we were able to control it. Thank you Cachoeiras de Macacu Fire brigade for your brave help!

 

Weevil

Even though the Curculionidae family is one of the largest with almost 23,500 described species, split in 2,200 genera, making it the largest weevil sub-family known.

Unnamed Weevil photographed by Nicholas Locke.

These enigmatic creatures,  are surprisingly hard to find on the forest floor as they rummage for food, feeding mainly on plants.   The larvae and imago of this family are known to particularly like feeding on flowers, acorns and other nuts.

Weevils are given away by their distinct features such as shape, colour and their “geniculate antennae”,  which contain their neuronal taste cells.

I could not find a name for this particular individual so took photos and left it to its meal.

 

 

SavingSpecies visit REGUA

SavingSpecies is a US based charity led by Stuart Pimm and Clinton Jenkins. These are the finest conservation biologists, internationally respected for championing the environment. Stuart and Clinton visited together with a potential donor who may help us acquire an important piece of land to integrate REGUA.

Clinton Jenkins and Stuart Pimm with REGUA President Nicholas Locke (© Raquel Locke)

Stuart and Clinton were also visited by UERJ ornithologist Maria Alice Alves who had helped them predict the location of the Grey-winged Cotinga on the mountain tops close by.    They also had a chance to hear the conservation status of the Patagonian Hooded Grebe as explained by volunteers Bob and Gaitlin from the US.

The evening conversations flowed and subjects ranged from project development to vision building and funding capacity.

We need “hands-on” locally run environmental projects protecting threatened species and REGUA is all about habitat protection and has been able to include its local communities in the responsibility of the needed conservation work. There is hope!

 

Long-billed Wren

Walking by the wetlands at REGUA along the Yellow or Brown trail, a small bird can surprise many with its fierce song of bravado.

One has to peer through the tangles of brush to catch a glimpse of the melodious Long-billed Wren (Cantorchilus longirostris), one of the Atlantic Rainforest endemic species. Though the call is well known, its intensity is surprising but it is merely reminding us that we are entering his territory.

Long-billed Wren (© Adilei Carvalho da Cunha)

The Yellow and Brown trails at REGUA pass through the middle of replanted lowland forest, and the presence of this species indicates the forest has provided a new home for many avian species.

This is what we want, a new habitat we created that now provides many new homes for its true inhabitants.

Caiman with Quills!

Adilei, REGUA’s resident Bird Guide, was walking the wetlands on his usual patrol when he spotted an unusual Caiman.

Peering through his binoculars, he saw that either one of REGUA’s adult Broad-snouted Caiman (Caiman latirostris) had developed far too many bristles or had wrestled with an Orange-spined Hairy Dwarf Porcupine (Sphiggurus villosus).

The Caiman’s head and neck was completely covered in quills, resembling a dragon.

Adilei could not understand the motive that induced the Caiman to eat such an unappetizing animal and now wonders what will happen to the Caiman!

Broad-snouted Caiman with Quills (©Adilei Carvalho da Cunha)

Although it was not easy to get a clear view of the event with the camera,  Adilei got this photograph, which shows the quills quite clearly.

We are keeping a close eye out for any more sightings!

New Scorpion for REGUA

Scorpions are predatory Arachnid of the Scorpione order.   Triggering fear and respect, scorpions are in fact difficult to find in this region of the Atlantic rainforest, and here at REGUA, we have only photos of the common yellow scorpion, Tityus serrulatus which are still relatively uncommon.

Professor Renner Baptista of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro was therefore surprised with this latest find.

Unidentified Scorpion (© Nicholas Locke)

Whilst searching for other Arachnids along with students Hector and Gabriel, they came across an unusual scorpion, their first for REGUA.   Found lying under a log at night, this 6cm long little fellow still has to be identified. Promising!

 

Post-graduates at REGUA

REGUA was delighted to receive 35 students from Rio de Janeiro’s Federal University undertaking their first MBE field trip.

This is a renowned business post-graduate course in Environmental Management aimed at preparing students to face the world of green responsibility in industry and government.

The Post-graduates at REGUA (© REGUA)

The group was able to learn about REGUA’s reforestation programme and see all stages of planting progress.  They enjoyed the day and returned to Rio with a valuable experience in the efforts needed to restore the Atlantic Rainforest.

 

CEO of SAVE Brazil visits REGUA

REGUA was delighted to receive Pedro Develey, the CEO of Birdlife International Brazil partner “SAVE” (Sociedade das Aves do Brasil) at REGUA.   His visit was partly to discuss the future reintroduction of the Black-fronted Piping-guans (Pipile jacutinga).

Pedro Develey with Nicholas Locke (© REGUA)

Pedro’s stay at REGUA was also an opportunity to show off our current tree planting area and the success of the wetland restoration.   Pedro had a great time and returned to São Paulo with a decent bird list and was especially pleased to see the variety of avian species in REGUA’s two year old forest.

He left us happy and content with the news that the reintroduction project is still ongoing. It’s crucial that a project of this importance develops slowly and steadily and all the pieces are being placed firmly in position. Thanks Pedro!!

Ruy creates feeders for the release pen

Ruy’s creativity never ceases to surprise us and yesterday he brought down the feeding stations that he personally built for the Black-fronted Piping-guan release pen.

These small constructions will be suspended inside and outside the aviary as part of a “soft-release” method.

Nicholas, Ruy and João Rafael Marins from Desengano State Park with the Black-fronted Piping-Guan feeders. (© REGUA)

The birds can eat their ration and after the period of quarantine the aviary door will be opened for them to wander into freedom and around the reserve.

If they feel like returning and eating their ration, the stations will be waiting for them, but generally after three days they make a run for it as the instinct for seeking their natural preference for fruits and insects kicks in.

Well done Ruy, what would we do without you!!