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Environmental Study Finds New Bird Species

06/10/2016 - 11h25



Ornithologist Rafael Bessa was making his way through the woods to get to work when he saw a Blue-eyed Ground-dove. Before that day, in 2015, the species had not been seen for 75 years. No pictures had been taken and no sounds had been recorded. Nobody knew, for example, that the species has blue eyes.

Bessa was working in the countryside of the state of Minas Gerais carrying out an environmental study for the licensing process of a construction.

Something very similar occurred with biologist Advaldo Dias do Prado in 2006, when he found a Kaempfer's Woodpecker while he was working on the licensing of BR-010 high way in the northeast of Tocantins - the species had not been seen for 80 years.

Ornithologist Dante Buzzetti was even luckier as he discovered a new species, the Paraná Antwren, which is in great danger of becoming extinct, in 2004. Buzzetti was in Mogi das Cruzes, in the countryside of São Paulo, and he was also preparing a licensing survey.

In 2012, ornithologists Bruno Rennó and Vitor Torga were working on a licensing survey in Mato Grosso when they came across a new species of Oropendola.

Mandatory since they were included in Brazil's 1988 Constitution, the studies for environmental licensing aim to assess the impact of certain construction on the local biodiversity.

The reports also include suggestions on how to compensate and reduce the damage.

Recently, however, these studies are in danger of disappearing as there are new proposals to relax environmental licensing in the Senate and in the House of Representatives.

"If these studies had not been carried out, we would not have found any of these species and it is likely that the construction would be made without due attention and end up wiping out these species before we had the opportunity to study them," says Luciano Lima, an ornithologist at the Bird observatory of Instituto Butantan.

Translated by THOMAS MUELLO

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