The old pen used for the Red-billed Curassow re-introduction programme which took place between 2005 and 2008 has been refurbished. It is ready to receive the Black-fronted Piping-guans (Aburria jacutinga) over the next four years, as part of the programme financed by O Boticario and Birdlife International partner SAVE.
The release pen is eight meters by 30 meters and eight meters high, with a secure cover of mesh to prevent snakes and rodents getting into the aviary. There were 20 Black-fronted Piping-guans released in 2009 as part of the previous Red-billed Currasow project with Crax/ Brasil. There were sightings in the forests of REGUA 2 years ago, but just recently one local resident saw a pair of these colourful birds in the forests of the Matumbo Gap.
As they are an arboreal species, the release pen has to be very high and the biologists accompanying the project have a strategy to ensure that the birds are encouraged to stay off the ground, thereby improving their chances of survival after release. They need to remain in the campus of the trees away from hunting mammals, rodents and the occasional stray dog. The more they stay in the canopies, the greater their chance for survival.
This is an exciting project that sees birds coming from a recognized bird breeder Tropicus, passing through the University of North Fluminense’s quarantine pens for a period of a month, adapting to the release pen and then freedom!
REGUA is delighted to offer its forests as a gateway for their release to the wild. They are a species that will help disperse fruits, especially the threatened heart of palm, Euterpe edulis and contribute as a charismatic species to represent REGUAs commitment to nature here.
On September 14th and 15th the Black-fronted Piping-guan Project Team was at REGUA, one of the sites where the species will be reintroduced, to conduct several activities.
On the 14th, the Project was presented during a meeting of the Rural Development Municipal Council. Twenty-six participants attended, among them council members and guests. Later that day, the 11th activity of the Guide for Practices and Experiences with Nature (available in Portuguese for download: http://goo.gl/XqcF56) was held with 13 of REGUA’s Young Rangers.
The following day, the Project was presented in Bacia do Rio, Macacu Permanent Preservation Area with the presence of the Area Manager, REGUA’s vice-president Raquel Locke, and the 5th UPAm (Environmental Police Unit).
In total, 18 participants attended, all of whom are important partners in the species’ protection network. Without the support of the local people and the REGUA team this project would not be possible.
The reintroduction of Black-fronted Piping-guan at REGUA is now expected for the first semester of 2016.
In October 2015, the first 20 Black-fronted Piping Guan (Aburria jacutinga) will be released at REGUA, the fruit of a partnership between REGUA and Birdlife International’s Brazilian partner SAVE Brazil , a project supported by Brazil’s cosmetic giant “O Boticário”.
This stunning Guan was discovered by German ornithologist Johann von Spix in 1819 in his travels in Rio state, not 50 km from REGUA. Even in 1837 Charles Gardner described their abundance in the same place describing the hunting of the species by locals. Noted Brazilian ornithologist Helmut Sick still noted local presence in 1915 in the Serra dos Órgãos but by 1950, but sadly not even two hundred years after their discovery, they were extinct in Rio State.
Although REGUA released 20 birds in a trial in 2009, the project will be the first major concerted effort to get the birds back in nature in its home ground.
The birds for release will be sourced from renowned captive breeders, Institute Tropicus. Adolescent birds will be transported to North Fluminense University ( UENF) for full veterinary health checks and final preparation for release under the care of Dr. Carlos Ruiz Miranda, before arriving at REGUA this coming October.
Doctorate student Livia who completed her master at REGUA will monitor the birds with radio tags as a means to learn this species’ behavior in the wild. The subsequent generated information will help understand the needs of the species and with further releases in the next two years, followed by two years of further monitoring, it is hopeful that with this effort and knowledge, the birds will provide the basis for an initial population of the species in the forests of Rio de Janeiro
Everyone is very excited and the release pen at REGUA is currently being refurbished in their preparation.
Following on from the great news that a reintroduction programme for the Black-fronted Piping-guans (Aburria jacutinga) is to take place, the young rangers have been keen to find out more. The Black-fronted Piping-guans belong to the cracidae family (the same family as the Red-billed Curassow, the subject of an earlier re-introduction at REGUA) and they are very similar looking birds. The Black-fronted Piping-guans can be recognised by their white quiff, white spots on their wings and blue and red wattle.
Like all re-introduction programmes the re-introduction of the Black-fronted Piping-guans must be accompanied by an awareness programme, and who better to take the first step than REGUA’s Young Rangers.
Various activities will be taking place; learning about the species, walks in the forest, art and craft activities. One of the first exercises in getting to know about the Black-fronted Piping-guan was to make papier-mâché models of the birds, using recycled newspaper and card. The Young Rangers were supported in this by REGUA Volunteers Katerina Samara and Emma Louise Smith.
The eagerness and interest the youngsters have shown in the bird is a breeze of excitement about their arrival at the reserve.
Soon there will be a team of papier-mâché Black-fronted Piping-guans waiting to welcome their real-life counterparts back to nature.