Sunday, 27 September 2015

Howler monkeys back in Rio's Tijuca park after 100 years

By Paula Adamo IdoetaBBC Brasil

26 September 2015 

Just after their cage is opened, four hesitant howler monkeys take their first steps inside Tijuca National Park, in the heart of Rio de Janeiro.

Soon they are feeling confident enough to climb trees and eat fruit.

This species had been absent from Tijuca National Park for about 100 years, according to estimates from researchers.

This forest is famous for being the home of Rio's famous Christ the Redeemer statue and also as one of the world's largest urban forests.

However, due to poaching and deforestation, many of the animals from the park have disappeared, making it an "empty forest".

Now scientists want to change that.

"Tijuca is a starting point for techniques in reintroducing fauna to forests," says Fernando Fernandez, a researcher from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), which runs the project with funding from the private foundation Grupo Boticario.

Some of these animals are important for spreading seeds, helping big trees reproduce.

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