BIAZA Buy an Acre News - March 2015

Welcome to the first edition of the WLT-BIAZA eBulletin in 2015.

It is my pleasure to announce that the focus of the joint fundraising efforts of the WLT-BIAZA partnership in 2015 will be a land purchase in northern Argentina. The property is El Pantanoso and the fundraising target is £15,000.

In this edition we bring you all the latest on the new project in Argentina, including an interview with the project director and a biodiversity summary of the area.

Also in this edition:

  • Buy an Acre Mexico: News from the reserve supported by BIAZA members in 2014
  • Featured Creature: Lowland Tapir (Tapirus terrestris)
  • Featured Zoo: find out which collection kick started the fundraising in 2015
  • WLT News: Wildlife action man and mum’s favourite Steve Backshall is raising funds for WLT

This eBulletin coincides with the start of the season for many of BIAZA members. Here at WLT we wish you all the very best for 2015.

Kelly Jacobs

BIAZA Buy an Acre Project Manager for World Land Trust (WLT)

Saving Yungas forest is the focus of BIAZA’s 2015 fundraising campaign in partnership with WLT

Trail camera image of a Jaguar in El Pantanoso. © Francesco Rocca.

In 2015 BIAZA members in partnership with WLT are aiming to raise £15,000 towards purchasing El Pantanoso, an area of Yungas forest in northern Argentina.

El Pantanoso lies between Calilegua National Park to the south and a large tract of sustainably managed forest to the north.

Tapir, Jaguar and other threatened mammals range across the property, which has not been logged for 35 years. Since 2009 camera-traps across the property have monitored wildlife, providing an excellent record of the species that make their home at El Pantanoso. 

Saving El Pantanoso is essential as it provides an important wildlife corridor between the national park and the sustainably managed forest, a link that would otherwise be broken if the land was sold and developed.

If the property were not to be saved for conservation, there would be a very real threat that land would be cleared of its forest to make way for agriculture and mining. Hunting could take place and there is also the risk that the land might be acquired for commercial logging.

WLT is managing the land purchase in partnership with Fundación Biodiversidad Argentina, one of WLT's conservation partners in Argentina.

FBA President welcomes the support of BIAZA members

Obdulio Menghi speaking at World Land Trust offices. © World Land Trust.

Obdulio Menghi, President of Fundación Biodiversidad Argentina, has praised the contribution of zoological collections to species conservation and expressed his gratitude to members of BIAZA.

On a recent visit to WLT's office in Suffolk, he said: “I am convinced that zoos are fundamental to the conservation of many of our species all around the planet and any help that zoos are doing to collaborate with World Land Trust to save ecosystems is very welcome.”

Obdulio has personal experience of working with zoos in Argentina and spoke warmly of his involvement with Buenos Aires Zoo, where he was involved with a captive breeding programme for the Andean Condor (Vultur gryphus). Part of the success of the programme was due to the zoo keepers who devised a feeding system using glove puppets (Obdulio refers to them as ‘marionettes’) so that the chicks were raised without seeing people.

In 2015, BIAZA is working in partnership with WLT and FBA to raise £15,000 towards the purchase of El Pantanoso a property in northern Argentina.

Watch Obdulio's video interview

El Pantanoso: extraordinary biodiversity

Margay at El Pantanoso (trail camera image). © Francesco Rocca.

In 2015 BIAZA members are raising funds to save El Pantanoso, an important ecological corridor in the Yungas forest of northern Argentina.

Biodiversity studies in the area have identified 120 species of mammal, 140 species of butterfly and more than 120 species of tree. Amphibians and reptiles are yet to be counted but they are numerous, and a rare marsupial frog is known to occur in the locality.

El Pantanoso is particularly important for wild cats and is home to two felids classified as Near Threatened by IUCN: Jaguar (Panthera onca) and Margay (Felis wiedii), pictured right. Also recorded on the reserve by trail cameras are Puma (Puma concolor) and Ocelot (Leopardus pardalis).

The property is also home to other mammals classified as Vulnerable: White-lipped Peccary (Tayassu pecari) and Lowland Tapir (Tapirus terrestris).

Bird species number at least 350, which is half of all bird species recorded in Argentina. Among the species known to be present is the Black Solitary Eagle, classified by IUCN as Near Threatened. 

Fundación Biodiversidad Argentina has provided a list of species recorded at El Pantanoso including those that are likely to be recorded in due course.

El Pantanoso biodiversity summary»

BIAZA Buy an Acre Mexico: update

Whiskered Screech Owl released in Mexico. © Roberto Pedraza Ruiz.

In 2014 BIAZA members successfully raised £23,000 to expand Las Arenitas reserve in Mexico in partnership with WLT and Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda (GESG). Earlier in 2015, Roberto Pedraza of GESG sent us this report.

I just released a Whiskered Screech Owl - Megascops (Otus trichopsis) - back into the tropical forest.

The owl, which I decided was a ‘she’, spent a month with us. She was brought here, injured, by police officers and several colleagues who had never been involved in wildlife care. They were happy to help, so she had plenty of volunteer nurses.

The day I released her she gave me some good scratches (she sure knows how to use that beak). But I managed to photograph her before she flew away. It’s always nice to help a small fellow like her.

More about BIAZA Buy an Acre in Mexico

Featured Creature: Lowland Tapir

Lowland Tapir caught on camera trap in Argentina. © Francesco Rocca.

El Pantanoso in Argentina might be relatively unknown, but one thing’s for sure, a healthy population of Lowland Tapir (Tapirus terrestris) live on the property.

Trail cameras recorded numerous images in 2009/2010 and as the property has been undisturbed since then it's likely that the numbers recorded a few years ago remain constant.

Lowland Tapir, also known as South American or Brazilian Tapir, are classified as Vulnerable by IUCN and Endangered within Argentina. Their population is thought to be in decline as they suffer habitat loss due to deforestation, and hunting for their meat and skins.

The Lowland Tapir is more than two metres long and stands more than a metre tall. Despite their size these large mammals are shy. They communicate with each other by clicking or whistling and have been known to shriek in pain. Unfortunately for them, their hoof prints are easy for hunters to follow.

More about the Lowland Tapir

Featured Collection: Blackpool Zoo

Steve Webster, Director of Blackpool Zoo. © Blackpool Zoo.

Blackpool Zoo has demonstrated a strong commitment to the WLT-BIAZA conservation partnership with a donation of £1,000 to BIAZA Buy an Acre Argentina.

Between 2008 and 2010 Blackpool Zoo donated £18,000 towards the creation of the 1,651 acres (668 hectares) BIAZA Reserve in Brazil’s Atlantic Rainforest.

Just last year a team of keepers from Blackpool Zoo raised £1,600 for World Land Trust by successfully completing the Three Peaks Challenge.

Current director, Darren Webster (pictured right), spoke of the zoo's conservation efforts: "We work hard at Blackpool Zoo to actively raise awareness about the need for conservation of all threatened species of fauna and flora, and currently support nine recognised organisations including the work of World Land Trust."

Blackpool Zoo was opened in 1972, on the former site of the Royal Lancashire Show and Stanley Park Aerodrome.

Highlights of the Zoo’s collection include Bornean Orang-utans, Amur Tigers and Western Lowland Gorillas. Following a £1million transformation, Orangutan Outlook, the Bornean Orang-utan enclosure, was officially opened by the Mayor of Blackpool in 2014.

World Land Trust News

Steve Backshall at a public event at Longleat. Image courtesy of Steve Backshall.

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