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Pichorim M.,Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte | Camara T.P.F.,Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte | de Oliveira-Junior T.M.,Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte | de Oliveira D.V.,Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte | And 2 more authors.
Tropical Conservation Science | Year: 2014

The Blue-winged Macaw (Primolius maracana) is currently classified as near threatened, and studies have shown a decrease in its population size in the southern and northeastern limits of its distribution over the last 50 years. In this study we assess the current status of a local population in Northeastern Brazil and propose a conservation action plan. We visited 56 localities in the Serra de Santana mountain range to search for direct and indirect evidence of the species’ presence or absence. We recorded P. maracana at 27 locations, restricted to two main areas (Pimenteira-Rio Fundo and Serra da Arara-Serra de São João). There was a positive correlation between the age of reported sightings and flock size (rs = 0.3; p = 0.02), suggesting a decreasing population size over the last several decades. P. maracana breeds during the rainy season (December-May) in this region, and nests were recorded in mulungus, cumarus and craibeiras trees. Based on soil use criteria, plant cover, fauna use, and indicator species, hillside habitats have been less impacted than flat areas in the upper highlands (mean conservation for high flat area = 5.8 ± 2.0 and for hillside areas = 8.0 ± 2.1; t53 = 3.96, p < 0.01). The data indicate that Pimenteira-Rio Fundo and Serra da Arara-Serra de São João are priority areas for local conservation actions and that P. maracana is adapted to the hyper-xerophilous caatinga, and not restricted to the peripheral formations of this environment, as previously suggested. We propose measures to control the population decline, establish conservation units, implement tourism programs, adopt responsible environmental practices, and increase public awareness and mobilization. Such actions must be implemented by local government and civil society entities, university researchers, and landowners in order to be effective. © Mauro Pichorim, Thanyria Pollyneide França Câmara, Tonny Marques de Oliveira-Júnior, Damião Valdenor de Oliveira, Érica Patrícia Galvão do Nascimento and Jason Alan Mobley.

Verissimo D.,University of Kent | Fraser I.,University of Kent | Fraser I.,La Trobe University | Girao W.,AQUASIS Associacao de Pesquisa e Preservacao de Ecossistemas Aquaticos | And 3 more authors.
Conservation Letters | Year: 2014

Flagship species are widely used in conservation but this single species approach has attracted criticism. One response is the "flagship fleet," which uses several flagship species in one conservation marketing campaign. However, marketing theory suggests multibrand campaigns can be counter-productive. Here, we develop an evaluation strategy for conservation flagships, and use it to: measure the effectiveness of an existing bird flagship species; detect whether additional species are needed; and, if appropriate, identify which species should be added to create a flagship fleet. We show the bird species has high levels of visibility and recognition, but has traits that appeal to only half the target audience. We also show that this shortcoming could be overcome by forming a flagship fleet based on adding an endemic mammal or fish species but there are additional strategic considerations that must be taken into account, namely in terms of costs and potential future conflicts. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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