By Alice Reisfeld, SAVE Brasil, 14 Aug 2016
A routine check-up in 2010 revealed that only one Black-fronted Piping-guan was left in the mountain range of Sierra do Mar, São Paulo. Wasting no time, the team of SAVE Brasil built a huge enclosure camouflaged in the Atlantic Forest to start a reintroduction programme. Six years later, the situation is being reverted: the birds are adapting and the locals are making sure their homes stay intact.
The Black-fronted Piping-guan Pipile jacutinga is a globally threatened species endemic to the Atlantic Forest of South America. As a consequence of poaching and habitat loss, this species is now locally extinct in big part of its original distribution, such as the Brazilian states of Rio de Janeiro, Espírito Santo and Bahia. Originally, it was found from South Bahia to Rio Grande do Sul, Northern Argentina and Paraguay.
There are many programmes that have been successful in breeding this species in captivity, representing an opportunity for its reintroduction and population reinforcement. Considering the significant threat that the Black-fronted Piping-guan has been suffering throughout the years with substantial population declines, SAVE Brasil (BirdLife Partner)initiated its program “Conservation of Game Birds in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest: Reintroduction and Monitoring of the Black-fronted Piping-guan” in 2010.
The project aims to implement a reintroduction and monitoring programme for Black-fronted Piping-guans, increasing the species’ population through captive management and release of individuals, thus raising the species conservation status.
Projeto Jacutinga began in 2010 when a census was conducted in Serra do Mar, in the state of São Paulo, focusing on two bird families: Cracidae (chachalacas, guans and curassows) and Tinamidae (tinamous and nothuras). Along 160 km of transects covered during 1 year, only one single Black-fronted Piping-guan individual was recorded. This was worrying, as this bird has an important ecological role, since it swallows whole fruits and disperses seeds that can help the re-growth of forests.