WCS Brazil

WCS Brazil

Because of its size and diversity of environments, Brazil is probably the most biologically diverse country in the world, with millions of species, natural wonders, and unique landscapes.  The 6 major biomes of Brazil are incredibly distinct, and include the Pantanal, the world’s largest freshwater wetland; the Amazon, the world´s largest river basin, largest tropical forest and most pristine wild place on the planet; the Cerrado, a unique type of savanna; the semi-arid Caatinga where Spix’s macaws once abounded; the endangered Atlantic Forest,home to the largest New World monkey, the endemic muriqui; and the Pampas,highly productive grasslands that have been almost entirely converted to human use.  These biomes shelter some of the world´s most iconic species, such as jaguars,peccaries, the world´s largest freshwater turtle, the giant air-breathing fish pirarucu, caimans, anacondas, macaws, the striking uakari monkey (photo below), sloths, giant river otters, and giant anteaters.The list goes on and on (see the Wikipedia site Wildlife of Brazil for a nice description).  This richness of wildlife and landscapes is an important basis for human livelihoods and a rich socio-cultural diversity that has developed in these Biomes over millennia and depends on healthy ecosystems.

All around the world, societies are trying to find ways improve the peoples’ livelihoods and quality of life,and many people including conservationists are trying to find ways to accomplish this development sustainability- without causing irreversible harm to ecosystems or extinction of species. Unfortunately, we have few success stories and progress is not happening fast enough to stem predatory use of natural resources.  Brazil is not an exception.  Its amazing biodiversity is in peril, with large tracts of land being deforested, species being harvested or collected at unsustainable rates, and large infrastructure projects threaten to disrupt our valuable aquatic ecosystems.  WCS-Brasil´s mission, like that of WCS around the globe, is simply to “Save Wildlife and Wild Places” by addressing these challenges of sustainable development and conservation with strong science and effective actions. 

WCS has a long history of saving wildlife in Brazil (nearly 40 years) and across the world (over 100 years!).  Currently, WCS Brazil focuses its efforts on conserving two major biomes that are unique for their complex mosaic of forests, wetlands, waters, and of course, wildlife: the Pantanal and the Amazon, through the Amazon Waters initiative.

We also focus on conserving some key species, including jaguars, peccaries, migratory fish and freshwater turtles.  To achieve success in conserving these landscapes and species, we do what is most needed in particular context, from developing sustainable ranching programs and researching peccary movements in the Pantanal to developing fisheries and turtles management  systems and estimating jaguar populations in the Amazon. 

WCS-Brasil exists to ensure that the people of Brazil and the world don´t lose any of the country’s natural treasures, and that these treasures continue to benefit our future generations by contributing to local livelihoods and cultures, producing key ecosystem services like clean water, and inspiring our imagination.


Diet Overlap and Foraging Activity between Feral Pigs and Native Peccaries in the Pantanal
Inter-specific competition is considered one of the main selective pressures affecting species distribution and coexistence. Different species vary in the way they forage in order to minimize encounters with their competitors and with their predators. However, it is still poorly known whether and how native species change their foraging behavior in the presence of exotic species, particularly in South America. Here we compare diet overlap of fruits and foraging activity period of two sympatric native ungulates (the white-lipped peccary,Tayassu pecari, and the collared peccary, Pecari tajacu) with the invasive feral pig (Sus scrofa) in the Brazilian Pantanal. We found high diet overlap between white-lipped peccaries and feral pigs, but low overlap between collared peccaries and feral pigs. Furthermore, we found that feral pigs may influence the foraging period of both native peccaries, but in different ways. In the absence of feral pigs, collared peccary activity peaks in the early evening,possibly allowing them to avoid white-lipped peccary activity peaks, which occur in the morning. In the presence of feral pigs, collared peccaries forage mostly in early morning, while white-lipped peccaries forage throughout the day. Our results indicate that collared peccaries may avoid foraging at the same time as white-lipped peccaries. However, they forage during the same periods as feral pigs, with whom they have lower diet overlap. Our study highlights how an exotic species may alter interactions between native species by interfering in their foraging periods.
The effects of deforestation on white-lipped peccary ( Tayassu pecari ) home range in the southern Pantanal
In the neotropics, white-lipped peccaries ( Tayassu pecari ) are important indicators of intact natural landscapes and the status of medium- to large-sized mammals dependent on forest habitats. Recognizing the species value as an environmental indicator of landscape and forest conditions in the southern Pantanal, we evaluated the impacts of deforestation and fragmentation on forest mammals by analyzing T. pecari home ranges in a pristine area with intact natural vegetation cover, and a relatively disturbed area where deforestation and conversion to exotic grass pasture is becoming prevalent. In the relatively disturbed region, the home range area was 51% larger than it was in the pristine area, and there were two centers of activity separated by a large unused deforested patch. In the pristine region, there was only one activity center without large unused patches. We relate the differences in the disturbed area to fragmentation of the original T. pecari home range and loss of forest fruit sources. We discuss the implications of ongoing forest fragmentation and predicted climate change for T. pecari and other forest frugivores in the naturally patchy and highly seasonal environment of the Pantanal.
Uso de Sistemas Agroflorestais e Pastagem Rotacionada para Manutenção e Restauração de Serviços Ambientais
Após detectar problemas de degradação de córregos e matas numa região onde ainda há uma boa diversidade de animais silvestres e corredores ecológicos significativos para a conservação, a WCS Brasil iniciou um projeto de transferência de tecnologias para os proprietários e produtores da região do alto rio Taboco.
Construção do Conhecimento Agroecológico como Instrumento de Educação Ambiental em Corguinho, Mato Grosso do Sul
Utilizando-se de conceitos de agroecologia foram ministradas aulas em duas escolas do município de Corguinho, MS nas quais foram repassadas técnicas de produção sustentável para alunos do 6º ao 9ª ano do ensino fundamental.

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