We commenced our morning with three illuminating species accounts. First up, Kayleigh introduced us to the coastal tree toad (Dendrophryniscus cf. brevipollicatus), a nocturnal toad that is endemic to Brazil and can be found living in bromeliads! Secondly, Maleeka enlightened us on the red-tailed amazon (Amazonas brasiliensis), a picturesque parrot with striking colours that is considered near threatened, primarily due to ongoing poaching and deforestation in Brazil. Last but not least, we had Arjun tell us about the paca (Cuniculus paca), a rotund rodent that can jump into water from a height of over 5 meters! Fun fact: when the male paca chooses a mate, he sprays the female paca with urine while she joyously leaps about. Overall, a morning filled with excitement and knowledge! Group Projects All groups ventured out into the field again today in hopes of collecting more data for their research projects. The weather managed to rain out some groups, but many prevailed. Several groups were able to collect sufficient data and run preliminary statistics to visualize their results. Hopefully everyone will be able to finish off their data collection tomorrow and conclude the final project at home.
BREAKING NEWS: Ani witnessed a real BBC Planet Earth moment play out before her eyes. She burst into the cafeteria and exclaimed, “THE CRAZIEST THING JUST HAPPENED!”. She then proceeded to reiterate her dramatized interpretation of her experience. A cicada was flying directly towards her and out of NOWHERE a flycatcher swooped in and chomped the cicada, consequently ‘saving’ Ani’s life, or at least preventing an unpleasant forehead-large insect collision.
Parque Estadual Serra do Mar – Nucleo Santa Virginia Presentation
During the afternoon, we gathered in the classroom for a presentation from Fernanda, the park manager, and Will, a local biologist employed at the park. They taught us about the park’s history, ecology, conservation efforts and research programs. We learned that the park is 42 years old, is comprised of 332 000 hectares, 25 municipalities, and has 10 nucleos. FUN FACT: there are three jaguars currently living in the Nucleo Santa Virigina area!! We watched a short video compilation of some park animal caught on camera traps around the nucleo. Some animals in the video included: pumas, jaguars, cutias, pacas, tapirs, and many more!
BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS – We finished the night off with some delicious white chocolate cake from Steve and Rute’s new favourite local café, in celebration of Emily and Emma’s birthday. Their wedding-like cake cutting was a fun end to a great day!