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SAD STATE OF THE MURICI RESERVE, ALAGOAS, BRAZIL
February 19, 1999
After recently visiting the MURICI ecological reserve in Alagoas state, NE
Brazil (which is without doubt one of the most important Atlantic forest
reserves in Brazil), and observing, along with Kevin Zimmer and our group, new
logging roads, illegal cutting and burning of the reserve, hearing distant chain
saws working and shooting, and observing the guard without any means of
protection . . . He was completely lost as what to do and eating meat hunted
within the reserve. The big chain across the entrance to the reserve to stop
entry of lorries into the reserve was on the ground without the padlock allowing
anybody access! To think that this reserve is PROTECTED and holding the only
known site for ALAGOAS ANTWREN, MYMOTHERULA SNOWI, and ALAGOAS
FOLIAGE-GLEANER, PHILYDOR NOVAESI, along with the Long-tailed Tyrannulet,
Phylloscartes ceciliae, and Orange-bellied Antwren, Terenura sicki,
known only from a handful of sites in Alagoas state. Also another nine
threatened species exist in this woodlot:
The large land owner(s) who border the quickly diminishing reserve seems to
have no fear of anybody, invading the reserve, cutting and burning, and taking
out wood from within the reserve!
Does anybody have any idea how we can help protect this area or bring it,
more importantly, to the attention of the government in Brazilia? I have tried
for the past two years to move the importance of this reserve along by getting
messages into the IBAMA headquarters. Last year the guard had abandoned, and his
wife informed me that he had not received a wage for 4+ months. After passing on
this info to Thomas Lovejoy of the Smithsonian Institution, his prompt action
through IBAMA in Brazilia seemed to have amended this problem. However the EVER
CRITICAL situation of the reserve after our visit as you all can see still hangs
in the wind! The situation of the MURICI reserve needs to be dealt with ASAP. If
any body can give me any ideas on how we can help please let me know.
All this after the great news that the Neotropical Bird Club wants to raise
funds for this reserve this year through a raffle at their Spring meeting!
One good bit of news was that with tape I made last year of the Philydor,
we managed to observe one individual. Many birders feared this species to be
extinct after the reserves size diminishing to around half its size in the last
Murici Reserve thanks you all for any ideas you have to help.
P.S. The Murici Reserve used to be called Fazenda Pedra Branca with around
7,000 hectares of forest some 15 years ago. Now Murici (reserve) is only 1,500
hectares and called Fazenda Bananeira. All the rest has been felled!
Re Pedra Talhada: I was there three years ago, and Anita Studer with her NGO
was doing a great job and to my knowledge still is re-planting, carrying out
conservation education and buying up other forest areas.