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Schetini De Azevedo C.,Federal University of Minas Gerais | Correa Da Silva M.,Federal University of Minas Gerais | Pinho Teixeira T.,Federal University of Minas Gerais | Young R.J.,Pontifica University Catolica Of Minas Gerais | And 2 more authors.
Emu | Year: 2013

Frugivorous seed-dispersers play an important role in the maintenance or regeneration of plant populations and communities. Greater Rheas are potentially one of the most import dispersers of seeds in South American grassland biomes owing to their capacity to swallow large seeds and their habitat of walking long distances each day. We studied the potential role of Greater Rheas in the dispersion of seeds of plants of the cerrado and caatinga grassland biomes through germination experiments. We evaluated the rate of seed germination and the mean time of germination of passage through the gut (seeds that passed through the digestive system of Rheas) compared with a control (seeds extracted directly from fruits). Nine species of plant from cerrado grasslands and three plant species from caatinga grasslands were tested. All three caatinga plant species germinated at a lower rate and took longer to germinate after passage through the gut, whereas two of nine cerrado plant species germinated at a higher rate and in less time after passage through the gut. Greater Rheas are probably good dispersers of some of the plant species we examined and may therefore be important in maintenance and regeneration of habitat. Future experiments will investigate the factors causing the variation in germination of seeds seen in this experiment. © 2013 Bird Life Australia. Source


de Azevedo C.S.,Federal University of Minas Gerais | Figueiredo Lima M.F.,Centro Universitario Of Belo Horizonte | da Silva V.C.A.,Centro Universitario Of Belo Horizonte | Young R.J.,Pontifica University Catolica Of Minas Gerais | Rodrigues M.,Federal University of Minas Gerais
Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science | Year: 2012

Visitors can affect and reduce the welfare of nonhuman animals. The Belo Horizonte Zoo, Brazil, had a group of greater rheas intended for reintroduction to the wild. Because this group received public visitation, evaluating its effect on the birds' behavior and welfare was important. The study conducted 60 hr of behavioral observations: 30 with, and 30 without, visitors in front of the birds' enclosure. The study, conducted April-December 2009, collected data using scan sampling with instantaneous recording of behavior every minute. The study collected data on public behavior, visitor density, and time spent observing the birds. More than 4,000 persons visited the birds' enclosure: 9.86 s average time spent. Public behaviors most expressed were walking-watching-talking and stopped-watching-talking; visitors or not, greater rheas' most expressed behaviors (inversed between treatments) were foraging and walking alert; defecating/urinating and other behaviors differed statistically between treatments. Walking alert was most expressed in the presence of visitors; defecating/urinating and other behaviors were most expressed in their absence. Greater rheas seemed to habituate to visitors. Birds' behaviors differed little in visitors' presence or absence. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC. Source


de Azevedo C.S.,Federal University of Minas Gerais | Silva K.S.,Centro Universitario Of Belo Horizonte | Ferraz J.B.,Fundacao Zoo Botanica de Belo Horizonte | Tinoco H.P.,Fundacao Zoo Botanica de Belo Horizonte | And 2 more authors.
Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia | Year: 2012

Does people's knowledge about an endangered bird species differ between rural and urban communities? the case of the greater rhea (Rhea americana, rheidae) in Minas gerais, Brazil. Greater Rheas are threatened South American birds; habitat loss, predation and hunting are the main factors responsible for population declines. Populations of this species are now held in captivity for future conservation programmes. Meanwhile, for a conservation program to succeed, it is necessary that the human community close to an in-situ conservation project be involved. Thus, the perceptions of the human community must be evaluated and incorporated into the conservation activities planned. It is expected that the human communities that are inserted in the environment where the endangered species occur will give more importance to its conservation than human communities that live far from the problem. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether perceptions of rural and urban communities about Greater Rheas are different due to experience and proximity with the problem. The study was conducted in São José do Buriti (rural community; wild Greater Rheas occur in this area) and at the BH Zoo (urban community), both in Minas Gerais state, southeastern Brazil. One-hundred and thirty-five questionnaires were given to people in both areas. Rural people were better able to recognize Greater Rheas than the urban community. Peoples knowledge about the Greater Rheas' risk of extinction differed in some aspects between rural communities and urban communities, but both communities agreed that the local extinction of Greater Rheas would bring ecological problems. Rural communities related local environmental problems (e.g., silvicultural activities) as one of the main reasons for Greater Rheas' declining populations while urban communities related more general reasons (e.g., trafficking and hunting). Environmental education programs should be implemented in both areas to maximize conservation actions. Source


de Azevedo C.S.,Federal University of Minas Gerais | Ferraz J.B.,Fundacao Zoo Botanica de Belo Horizonte | Tinoco H.P.,Fundacao Zoo Botanica de Belo Horizonte | Young R.J.,Pontifica University Catolica Of Minas Gerais | Rodrigues M.,Federal University of Minas Gerais
Acta Ethologica | Year: 2010

The aim of this study was to evaluate activity-time budget, habitat use and how seasonality and group size influence the expression of greater rhea behaviours. Greater rheas are threatened South American birds; habitat loss, predation and hunting are the main factors responsible for population declines. The study was conducted in farmlands within a matrix of commercial Eucalyptus plantation and remnants of natural habitats of cerrado vegetation (savannah-like) in southeastern Brazil. Rhea groups were located visually in different habitats visited monthly from January 2004 to December 2005. Time spent searching greater rheas in each habitat was equally distributed. Data were collected using scan sampling with instantaneous recording of behaviours every minute. The time-activity budget of greater rheas was influenced by habitat structure, time of the day, season and group size. Rheas spent more time in open areas than in forested areas (p < 0.001). Vigilance behaviours were more displayed in forested areas, in the dry season and by solitary and small groups of birds. Resting behaviours occurred more often in open lands and within groups with more than three rheas. Food availability, good visibility and low human presence are the possible factors for the preference of greater rheas for pasturelands. The results support the resource availability hypothesis, where it is expected that habitats with a higher food availability will be more used by the animals, group size hypothesis, where the scarcity of resources will lead to smaller groups of animals and that forestry modifies greater rheas habitat use and behaviours. © 2010 Springer-Verlag and ISPA. Source

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