Today is World Wildlife Day. In many parts of the world, elephants are wildlife, but they are not native to Brazil nor the Americas.
While elephants are the reason for our organization, we felt it was more appropriate to talk about our local wildlife here in Brazil for World Wildlife Day 2020. This year’s theme is “Sustaining all life on Earth,” and it encompasses all wild animal and plant species as key components of the world’s biodiversity.
THE CERRADO BIOME
The Sanctuary’s land is considered part of the Cerrado biome, which is a biodiversity hotspot. There are only 36 recognized biodiversity hotspots in the world. To qualify as a biodiversity hotspot, the area must contain at least 1,500 species of plants found nowhere else on Earth and have lost at least 70% of its primary native vegetation. In case you were wondering, the Cerrado has over 4,800 species of plants and vertebrates found nowhere else on this planet.
The Cerrado is a tropical biome that is composed of savannas and grasslands, as well as humid and dry forests. The land is truly ideal for elephants.
A great example of the interconnectivity of this region is a giant native palm, buriti. The buriti grows in this biome (& throughout sanctuary land). In addition to all the “normal” (& vital) things that trees do, this specific tree is preferred by macaws for their nests (and, yes, there are macaws here – red and the blue/yellow ones). The fruit of the buriti tree is a primary food source for tapirs, monkeys, and many fish throughout the region.
The property has giant anteaters (which can grow to be up to 7ft long!) as well. We also have so many less exciting things, but each one of them is still vital to our ecosystem.
A lot of the Cerrado Biome is being destroyed and becoming pasture (used for cattle grazing) and farmland (used for crops).
Even within a biome, there are many differences due to microclimates (and other variables). There are graduate students studying dung beetles in the area, and they discovered we have different dung beetles on our land than on neighboring farms.
OUR COMMITMENT TO BE GOOD STEWARDS OF OUR LAND
We do everything we can do to be good stewards of our land. Our team respects those who were here first – including bugs, frogs, snakes, plants, and trees. We design our fences to protect large trees. We are aware of our ecological footprints. It’s not just for World Wildlife Day; it’s for future generations of humans, flora, and fauna.
As the World Wildlife Day 2020 Website explains,
“Historically, we have depended on the constant interplay and interlinkages between all elements of the biosphere for all our needs: the air we breathe, the food we eat, the energy we use, and the materials we need for all purposes. However, unsustainable human activities and overexploitation of the species and natural resources that make up the habitats and ecosystems of all wildlife are imperiling the world’s biodiversity. Nearly a quarter of all species are presently at risk of going extinct in the coming decades, and their demise would only speed up the disappearance of countless others, putting us in danger as well.”
This is a crisis that doesn’t just face elephants, and it doesn’t just face the Cerrado Biome. As an organization, we are very fortunate to be able to impact the world around us and help biodiversity in such a vital region.
It’s not just us though – every single person impacts the world around them every day. Let us know the ways that you are encouraging biodiversity in your community or your lives! We’d love to hear about it!
The video is a compilation – the first two scenes are tapirs (the second one is a tapir saying hi to a rooster. The chickens love to pick bugs off of anything that will let them). The third is monkeys in the tree canopy. Then there are a few photos of some unknown species (if you can ID them, message us and we will update the post) – there’s a tree frog, followed by some caterpillars (a beautiful moth laid eggs in Scott & Kat’s house, so they protected them until they hatched…and these tiny creatures were born). The last is a toad in an adult boot. To note, every single one of those photos was taken in the past two months! We aren’t kidding when we say this area is amazing!
March 4. 2020
Read More About the Sanctuary Wildlife Here →