In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, a bridge was erected to allow golden lion tamarins – endangered primates – to safely cross a road. Opened in August 2020, the viaduct was covered in plants and trees intended to eventually form a hanging forest. If the monkeys have not yet dared to venture there, other animals have already started to frequent the walkway. Details with 30millionsdamis.fr.
The Bridge of Hope! Close to the megalopolis of Rio de Janeiro (southeastern Brazil), the Atlantic Forest – or Atlantic Forest – is considered one of the jewels of global biodiversity, housing thousands of endemic species of animals and plants. But this unique ecosystem, whose surface is reduced to urbanization and the extension of agricultural land, is fragmented into a multiplicity of “pockets” of natural habitat separated by cities, fields… but also by roads! Thus, to facilitate the crossing of golden lion tamarins, a primate species classified as “endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a bridge was built over the BR-101 highway.
Connecting two nature reserves
Inaugurated on the occasion of the World Day of the Golden Lion Tamarin, August 2, 2020, the viaduct should allow the connection of the Poço das Antas biological reserve (one of the main habitats of the species) to the environmental protection area of the São João River. With a big challenge: filling the mineral bridge with a vegetation cover that is dense enough and protective for the animals. ” Tamarins use trees to get around, they need to feel protected from predatorsexplained Luís Paulo Ferraz, executive secretary of the Leão Tamarindo Dourado Association (AMLD), to the Brazilian channel globe 1 at the time of opening. If all goes well with the plantations, we believe that in two or three years we will have a usable forest. But the project is long term ; the important thing is that in the coming decades this movement of animals will be done in a safer way and allow an ecological balance in the reserve. »
A year and a half after the viaduct was inaugurated, about 400 seedlings of 40 species of trees native to the Atlantic Forest have already been installed on the site, according to AMLD on its Facebook page. While the vegetation on the bridge hasn’t grown enough for the golden monkeys to venture there, project managers nonetheless saw encouraging signs. ” We monitor the wildlife that frequent the bridge, told Reuters news agency Carlos Avarenga Jr., forestry engineer responsible for the ecological restoration program (12/09/2021). (…) Our cameras have already managed to film other animals making the crossing. Thus, the automatic triggers – installed on the bridge this year – immortalized crested cariamas (an emblematic species of bird in Brazil, editor’s note), a black and white tegu (reptile, editor’s note), an anteater, an armadillo nine bands as well as Savannah Foxes.
95% of the territory of the golden lion tamarins would have already disappeared
The challenge of the device, for the golden lion tamarin, is great: if the total number of the species went from just 200 animals in the 1970s to around 3200 individuals in 2014 thanks to a vast program of reintroduction, a recent epidemic of Yellow fever (a viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes, Editor’s note) did, however, cause a high mortality, bringing the population to about 2,500 monkeys. However, bridges and other local initiatives will not be enough to guarantee the survival of the species, which has already lost 95% of its territory, mainly due to deforestation for cattle grazing and soy cultivation for food. Europe. Thus, by reducing meat consumption, everyone can act to preserve the golden lion tamarin, but also tapirs and all other species of the Atlantic Forest. Change happens (also) through our plate!