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by Andrew Whittaker
Birding Brazil Tours

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:

Golden-tailed Parrotlet
Pinto's Spinetail
Scalloped Antbird
Black-headed Berryeater
Buff-throated Purpletuft
White-winged Cotinga
Forbes's Blackbird
Seven-colored Tanager
Yellow-faced Siskin

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 10 years!

Murici Reserve thanks you all for any ideas you have to help.

Andrew Whittaker

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.

Copyright © 1992-2012 John Wall