With LTCI – Lowland Tapir Conservation Initiative, IPÊ will support research initiatives in the Pantanal:
In order to evaluate the impact of these catastrophic fires on wildlife at least two large initiatives have been established:
3.1. Researchers from several organizations joined forces with EMBRAPA Pantanal – a governmental research institute that developed a standard method to count carcasses using line-transect sampling. Many researchers have been contributing. Preliminary results of the carcass counts showed that fires were so strong that were able to affect large animals, especially tapirs. However, low-mobility animals such as rodents and reptiles have suffered even more, disrupting the base of the food chain. The general lack of food resources due to the effect of scorched earth that destroyed the plant and animals supplies from the bottom of the food chain is a well-known phenomenon after large-scales fires called ‘gray hunger’, which normally has long-lasting consequences for wildlife.
3.2. SESC Pantanal, a private reserve in the northern Pantanal, lost 91% of their area. This area maintains one of the largest tapir populations in the Pantanal. With support from partners, they have distributed 160 water/food stations for the animals (they bring water and fresh food every two days), and they are monitoring 12 of these stations with camera-traps. This will be an extremely effective way to monitor and evaluate the conditions of the animals over time after the fires. Therefore, we provided 10 additional camera-traps kits (containing camera traps, rechargeable batteries, and SD cards) to monitor at least 10 more stations for as long as needed.
We were also in touch with several colleagues and organizations, trying to compile as much information as possible about the effects of these fires on tapirs to be able to model this impact on their population and evaluate the consequences.