Friday, 10 May 2013

Camera traps show wealth of wildlife in Bolivia's threatened Beni savannah

Great footage of giant anteater wallowing
May 2013. Recent Glasgow University expeditions to Bolivia's Beni savannah have produced important survey data on the birds and mammals of the Barba Azul Nature Reserve. The research teams also captured fascinating camera-trap footage including a great sequence of a Giant Anteater enjoying a nocturnal wallow.

World Land Trust (WLT) is currently raising funds to extend Barba Azul Nature Reserve, an area of extraordinary biodiversity managed by WLT's Bolivian conservation partner Armonía.

Joanne Kingsbury led Glasgow University's first research expedition to Barba Azul Nature Reserve in Bolivia's Beni savanna in 2009. A student of zoology at Glasgow University (GU), Joanne went on to assist three more expeditions to Barba Azul between 2010 and 2012. In April Joanne shared her experiences of the reserve with Ruth Canning, WLT's Conservation Programmes Manager (Americas Region) and WLT Council Member, Kevin Cox. In general, bird numbers seem to be fluctuating, which is a concern, but mammal populations, on the other hand, seem to be either stable or actually increasing.

Remote and undisturbed - Buy an Acre Fund
The extension to the reserve, which WLT is raising funds for through the Buy an Acre fund, includes 26 isolated forest islands and 3 large forest islands within this savannah habitat.

These forest islands are crucial habitat for a host of species particularly the endangered Blue-throated Macaw. Larger islands are important to the macaws for foraging, and smaller ones are thought to be safe havens for roosting and nesting.

Extending the reserve will offer more potential breeding areas for the species, as well as additional areas of tall grass savannah, vital for several of the reserve's threatened grassland birds.

"The Beni is phenomenal for wildlife, a unique endemic habitat, found nowhere else in the world and we need to protect as much of this habitat as we can now before it's too late," says Joanne who fears that more road and bridge building would be disastrous. "If better roads went in, that would be the beginning of the end for the habitat and its wildlife."

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