September 23, 2019
Latest News
Science & Technology

Brazil reintroducing animal species into world's largest urban forest

By Carlos A. Moreno

Rio de Janeiro, May 20 (efe-epa).- Rio de Janeiro has launched a project to repopulate the animal species that have become extinct in the Tijuca National Park, which extends across a good part of this Brazilian city and is considered to be the world's largest urban forest, gradually reintroducing into the green space individual animals currently in captivity.

The initiative entered a new phase on Monday with the release in the middle of the park at the foot of the famous Sugarloaf Hill 14 guinea pigs, which reach 66 centimeters (26 inches) in length and stand 36 cm (14 in.) high and are native to Latin America's tropical jungles and used to be commonly found in Rio's forested areas.

The release of the guinea pigs was carried out as part of the Refauna project headed by the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), which seeks to reintroduce native species to the Tijuca National Park "with the aim of restoring the local fauna and ecological interactions."

Despite the fact that its 3,953 hectares (about 1,580 acres) contain a rich diversity of plant species, the park in Rio has had its animal species severely reduced due to centuries of deforestation and hunting.

The priority for the project's leaders is reintroducing animal species that are important distributors of seeds, like guinea pigs howler monkeys, tortoises and blue and yellow macaws.

Biologist Catharina Kreischer, the coordinator for Refauna and a researcher with the UFRJ, told EFE that guinea pigs are important because they bury assorted large seeds to eat later and often forget where their caches are, thus allowing new trees to grow.

Kreischer said that the Tijuca park has suffered from significant deforestation in past centuries, with the original vegetation being replaced with coffee plantations and later being reforested but without the presence of the typical animals, who had fled or been hunted out.

"Even with the reforestation, since it's in the middle of the city, those species can't get here without human help to repopulate the forest and fulfill their role as distributors of seeds and (engaging in) other ecological interactions which help to rebuild the forest," she said.

Kreitscher said that since it was launched in 2010, the Refauna project has reintroduced 30 guinea pigs into the park which are monitored with collars that send radiotelemetry to scientists who follow their movements and habits.

She added that during the 1960s there was a similar project in operation in Tijuca but, since there were no animal monitoring programs at the time, those animals have disappeared without a trace.

Currently, there are about 40 guinea pigs in the park that have been born since the releases started, and project workers have noted a significant increase in tree growth as a result.

She also said that the howler monkeys that have been released are fitting into their normal ecological niche as seed distributors.

Kreitscher said that the Refauna project over the next six months will continue to release dozens of tortoises and macaws that are currently being held in captivity at the Rio Zoo.

The repopulation effort will increase public interest in the Tijuca park, which is one of Rio's biggest tourist attractions and the most visited ecological preserve in Brazil, with about three million visitors per year.

News history
New study reveals giant size of extinct marsupials that once roamed Australia

Washington, Sep 13 (efe-epa).- Paleontologists have found that a species belonging to an extinct genus of marsupial that roamed Australia some 25 million...

Disney CEO leaves Apple's board of directors ahead of streaming services war

San Francisco, USA, Sep 13 (efe-epa).- The chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Company has resigned from Apple's board of directors – of which he had been a...

Bacteria in cash, pizza as medicine and other crazy experiments win Ig Nobels

Washington DC, Sep 12 (efe-epa).- The number of deadly bacteria lurking in cash or the medicinal properties of pizza are some of the unusual experiments...

Russian scientists patent system to collect space debris

Moscow, Sep 12 (efe-epa).- Student Russian scientists have patented a system of devices to remove space garbage from the Earth's orbit.

Remakes of iconic games steal limelight at Tokyo Game Show

By María Roldán

Bringing children in Peru up to speed with the internet

By Álvaro Mellizo

Water vapor detected in potentially habitable exoplanet's atmosphere

London, Sep 11 (efe-epa).- Scientists for the first time have detected water vapor in the atmosphere of an exoplanet of a size comparable to Earth, making...

Pioneering technology uses plants and microorganisms to produce electricity

By Mercedes Palomino

Science Museum explores how London became global hub for innovation

By Laura Sanfélix

Two viable embryos developed from northern white rhinos

Nairobi, Sep 11 (efe-epa).- Scientists working to save the northern white rhinos from extinction announced Wednesday that two eggs fertilized 10 days ago...

Indian space agency loses contact with lunar lander

New Delhi, Sep 7 (efe-epa).- India's space agency said Saturday that ground controllers lost contact with the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft's Vikram lander...

Countdown begins for India's moon mission to touch down at lunar South Pole

New Delhi, Sep 6 (efe-epa).- The countdown began on Friday for Chandrayaan-2 to land a rover on the Moon, India’s most ambitious space program to look for...

Yamnaya steppe tribe that invaded Iberia advanced as far as India

By Elena Camacho

Baby hippopotamus is latest resident at Nicaragua zoo

Managua, Sep 5 (efe-epa).- A baby hippopotamus, the only member of the species in Nicaragua and which was rescued from a circus, starting Thursday is the...

Austrian technology art festival looks at AI's future impact on humanity

By Luis Lidon

Mexican region gets first desalination plant for ag use in the Americas

By Juan Carlos Machorro

Iran denies burning of its satellite Nahid-1

Tehran, Aug 31 (efe-epa).- Iran has denied the failure of the launch of a communication satellite on Saturday as alleged by the United States.

Soyuz MS-15’s crew undergoes tests ahead of flight to ISS

Moscow, Aug 30 (efe-epa).- The crew members of the Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft on Friday concluded the second day of tests before heading to International Space...

SpaceX Dragon capsule returns to Earth with NASA materials

Washington, Aug 27 (efe-epa).- The SpaceX CRS-108 Dragon space capsule returned safely to Earth on Tuesday loaded with assorted NASA materials, plunging...

Square marks boundary between haves, have-nots in Chile's capital

By Alberto Valdes Gomez

Russia's Soyuz capsule with Fedor robot on board docks at ISS on 2nd attempt

Moscow, Aug 27 (efe-epa).- The Soyuz MS-14 spacecraft, with the Russian Fedor robot as its only crew member, docked Tuesday at the International Space...

Dinosaur paleontology under threat in Argentina

By Pablo Ramón Ochoa

Soyuz carrying robot to attempt dock on ISS after failed attempt

Moscow, Aug 24 (efe-epa).- The Russian Soyuz MS-14 ship carrying android FEDOR as its sole crew member will try to dock on the International Space Station...

The tech hub that flourished against all odds in Gaza

By Laura Fernández Palomo

I agree Welcome to news4europe.eu. We use cookies to improve your online experience. Find out more.