Wildlife of Brazil

Amazon destruction in ‘dramatic decline’

Large-scale deforestation in the Amazon rainforest fell dramatically last year, according to official figures released yesterday. Data from satellite sensors making fortnightly detections of only larger areas of forest destruction (greater than 25 hectares) was 1,500km2 between August 2009 and May 2010, compared with 3,000km2 in the same period a year earlier.

The Brazilian environment agency, Ibama, which is responsible for protecting the forests against illegal logging, said the drop was due to the increased use of satellite data to spot the felling of trees and new tactics to deter loggers, including ending their ability to hide under cloud cover. The full figures for the year and all deforestation will be published on 31 July. The areas of forest destruction are expected to be 5,000-6,000km2, down from 7,500km2 the previous year, and from 27,000km2 in 2004

South American cat mimics the call of its prey In a fascinating example of vocal mimicry, researchers have documented a wild cat species imitating the call of its intended victim – a small squirrel-sized monkey known as a pied tamarin. This is the first recorded instance of a wild cat species in the Americas mimicking the calls of its prey

BBC radio documentary about Cerrado – interesting

Taking up one quarter of Brazil’s land mass, the Cerrado lacks the high profile of the Amazon or its celebrity supporters, making it easier for the fast expanding sugarcane and soya industries to take bigger bites out of the savannah. That can mean the loss of unique species and the destruction of traditional ways of life in the region.

For One Planet, Tim Hirsch visits the Cerrado to hear from local people who are trying to save their land by making it pay. Ice creams flavoured with unusual Cerrado fruits and bird-watching holidays for British tourists may not be able to compete with large-scale farming but locals hope they’ll give the area the publicity it needs for real protection.

BBC radio 4 documentary about the Amazon

Travelling through flooded forests, up and down tributaries, and exploring drying out pools and lakes with local scientists, Biologist Adrian Barnett discovers an intriguing world of South American wildlife.

One of the biggest mammals to be found on the Amazon river is the giant otter. In many places in South America it has suffered due to persecution and loss of habitat.  The Balbina Dam, which at the time of its construction was deemed as an environmental disaster for the Amazon, seems to have enabled a healthy population of giant otters to survive.