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Possible new snake for REGUA by Klaus Seehawer

Whilst counting Capybara, Katja and Helmut Seehawer found a wonderful green snake in the REGUA wetlands.   It has been provisionally identified it as Chironius multiventris.   If this is confirmed it would be a new snake for the REGUA snake species list.

Chironius multiventris showing blue irridescence (© Seehawer family)

The Chironius family of the Atlantic forest consists of five species of elegant green, grey, brown or black snakes.   The green variants are especially difficult to identify.

The common name of Chironius multiventris is cobra-cipó – liana snake.   It is a non-venomous snake that grows to nearly two metres.    The snake is diurnal and actively hunts for its prey in trees and on the ground.   It preys – good news for you birders out there! – mainly on amphibians.

The snake seen at noon right in the middle of the wetlands was 120 cm long and of a wonderful green colour with a blue shimmer reflecting from the sky above.  It was observed for a while and obviously distracted by hunting.

With the growing number of species across many taxa in the wetlands the number of snakes will also increase.   In intact Atlantic Forest habitat (without human snake killing) 80% of the snakes encountered will be nonvenomous.

Chironius multiventris well camoflagued (© Seehawer family)

On a separate occasion the Seehawer family encountered another large green snake on Green Trail.   This snake was possibly Chironius exoletus or Chironius bicarinatus, but they were not able to make a reliable identification as the colour and back marking was in between these two snake species.

Give snakes their space and enjoy the rare adventure of seeing one.

Klaus Seehawer

N.B. it should be noted that snakes are not easy to find at REGUA, their natural defence means they are well aware of human presence and will slip away rather than be found.  The Seehawer family are very experienced in finding snakes and walked in the forest with REGUA Rangers.

 

 

REGUA Ranger receives joint Conservation Award

Sometimes one feels that there seems to be a lull like the wind has dropped leaving the sails slack.   This year appeared that way; fewer visitors and reforestation grants contributing to the lack of needed momentum at a precious time.

Admittedly land purchases have been tough and it’s been hard to close the available areas with their respective owners.   I guess socio-economic conditions are constantly changing and these naturally affect the efficiency of our proposal.

Muriqui Research Team André and Rildo centre left and right resp. (© REGUA)

Then I received an email that the Global Conservation Leadership Programme winners had been announced and found the page to seek the name of those prizewinners.

The Young Conservationists is a great programme that seeks young researchers in Biology and provides them with a grant to continue with their studies.   I have often been asked by friends to submit a proposal but I do consider I am in the correct age range to compete.   Imagine my delightful surprise when checking this year’s prizewinners to find the Muriqui Monkey Project in SE Brazil.

The picture of André Lanna and Rildo as winners of the 2017 prize gave me a huge confidence boost. Well done André, REGUA ranger Rildo and Muriqui Team!

André had mentioned that REGUA may be the last bastion of the Southern Muriqui primate and suspect that there could be three populations here.   May their project continue to enjoy the success it deserves and place REGUA healthily on the map.

The wind is picking up my friends!

Warmly

Nicholas Locke  

http://www.conservationleadershipprogramme.org/project/muriqui-serra-do-mar-brazil/

 

Insect life Research

REGUA received a visit by the eminent biologists Dr. David Redei and his colleague, Dr. Qiang Xie from Nankai University last December.    Working in partnership with Brazil’s Fiocruz (Oswaldo Cruz Foundation) and invited by Dr. Felipe and Dr.Elcio, they spent a day looking at REGUA’s insect life.

Dr David Redei inspecting the Conservation Centre Moth Trap (© N Locke)

David and Qiang are working on phylogeny using morphological and molecular characters used in establishing taxonomic differences.   David is classifying insects according to tribe, family and genus.   Their interest in South America is evident once one knows that the continent has its own endemic and specialized insects.   David’s specialty is Hemiptera or Stink bugs, but he became very excited to learn that REGUA has its fair share of Phloeidae, a family existing only in the Neotropics of the Atlantic rainforest.   These are barnacle like insects that can be found mainly lurking on tree trunks in quality forest.

Now we will keep our eyes peeled to photograph and send images to these fascinating visitors. Thank you both for visiting and sharing your interests with us!

Accessibility in the Atlantic Rainforest

Caroline Begg on the Waterfall Trail

Staying at Regua over the next 2 weeks, we have a guest Caroline Begg staying at the Lodge.  During her time here, Caroline will be advising us on improving accessibility around the Lodge. Caroline has a disability called “Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia” and uses a mix of crutches and a wheelchair to get around.  Two wooden ramps have been fitted, one up to the veranda and one leading into Room Three as well as a grab rail in the shower area. These improvements enable Caroline to get around the Lodge independently.

During her first week, Caroline accessed the Yellow trail around the wetland on her wheelchair with some assistance over tree roots and where there are slight inclines. We bird watched along the way, taking a leisurely 3 hours to complete the trail.  She also participated in the weekly fitness class being held for REGUA staff at the conservation area. This class has been started to help staff member Lisa, who had her legs amputated last year to gain strength and improve her general fitness. During the week, we drove up part of the green trail and visited the new reforested area, the Protestant Land.

Caroline says she is impressed with the outstanding beauty of the reserve and the friendliness and willingness of the staff helping her to get around. Following Caroline’s visit, we will be looking to provide a room which is accessible for disabled visitors.

Tiger Beetle

Tiger beetles are always exciting to watch as they prowl about searching for food before flying off like a jet fighter to disappear out of view.

Tiger Beetle [possibly Cicindelidia politula] (© N Locke)
They have characteristically large bulging eyes and large mandibles for crunching up their food.

Tiger Beetles come from the Cicindelinae family, originating from the Latin word of Glow worm since most are brightly coloured.    Whilst this example looks similar to a Limestone Tiger Beetle, it is one of many different Cicindela sp.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Micaela, Nicholas, Sue, Adilei, Rachel, Alcenir, Lee, Raquel & Tom in the Lodge garden July 2016 (© REGUA)

In spite of scandals of corruption and the scares of Zika, Brazil is working hard to improve it’s image and the Olympics and Paralympics showed the world that Brazil has much to offer the world community.

Conservation of the world’s natural heritage is a concern that involves us all and REGUA is an example of dedication and care for our corner of Brazil.

Results from 2016 show that with the support from our UK team, our staff on the ground and our many supporters worldwide, we can and have made a huge difference. Forests are growing where seedlings were planted and children are learning about the importance of conservation from their visits to REGUA. Researchers reveal Atlantic Forest secrets and our rangers ensure that REGUA’s forests are respected.

Our visitors continue to leave impressed with all that they see, and into this mini Eden, tapirs will be released next year, engaging more people and promoting our efforts. None of this would be possible without your support and therefore Raquel and I on behalf of REGUA’s team, dedicate this Christmas to you all!

Help us to keep up the good work and we will show you the changes that make REGUA a very special place.

Tree Planting begins!

Planting has resumed at REGUA for the 2016 season, we have started just before our summer rains in a grassland area in a property supported by the Danish Travel Fund.

Planting begins (© Nicholas Locke)

Although REGUA had only a World Land Trust grant to plant 5000 trees we decided to take action and plant a much larger area as a result of a grassland fire a month ago.    The scorched grass gave us a head start in preparing the planting of our trees.   REGUA had close to 80 native tree species ready to plant and then purchased a further 20 species from local INEA nursery to add to the tree diversity.

Extra hands were found in the local community and equipped with one petrol driven digger we have already planted half the area.   A road was also made to acccess the higher areas.    Tomorrow Famath University workshop students have requested the opportunity to plant 300 trees a offer we accepted with pleasure.

Replanting trees needs every ounce of help!

P.S since this article the sun has come out and the rains have stopped so our planting is on hold for a few days until the next rains come.

Tufted (Brown) Capuchin

A troop of 20 Tufted (Brown) Capuchin were seen on our Casa Anibal/ 4 X 4 trail on 7th November.

Tufted (Brown) Capuchin (Cebus apella)
Tufted (Brown) Capuchin (Cebus apella) (© Paul Duffner)

Cirilo (one of our resident bird guides) was walking with Paul Duffner and his family when they happened across these delightful creatures.

Paul’s daughter Clara had volunteered here in March 2012 and was amazed by the changes in the forests and the growth of the trees.

 

 

The Theodora Trail

Few people from REGUA visit the Theodora Trail which is a shame as it has some great birds and is probably the easiest trail for walking.

The trail starts beside the main road from Cachoeiras to Nova Friburgo at about 1,200m and follows the route of a long-gone railway line – so it has a very gentle downhill gradient ending back at the main road only a few hundred metres lower.

Black-throated Trogon
Black-throated Trogon (© Alan Martin)

In October I walked the trail with Adilei and amongst the good birds seen were great views of Shrike-like Cotinga, Spot-winged Wood Quail, Black-throated Trogon, Bertoni’s Antbird, Sharpbill, Greenish Schiffornis, Bellbird, Eared Pygmy-Tyrant, Barred Forest Falcon and many many more.

Young Rangers meet snakes

Vital Brasil Institute produces antivenom, for snake, scorpion and spider bites.  Guilherme Jones, a young biologist working at the Institute, was invited by REGUA to give a talk on venomous snakes of the Crotalus, Bothrops and Elapidae genera.

REGUA’s Young Rangers were thrilled to have the opportunity to get a close-up view of some live snakes which were carefully and diligently handled by Guilherme.

Tom Locke

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Guilherme Jones shows snakes to the Young Rangers (© REGUA)