A talk between the Biodiversa Colombia Foundation (FBC) and the Antioquia Ornithological Society (SAO) in the roundtable discussion "The story with the birds."
The last Medellin Birds Festival of 2015 offered a space where researchers of FBC and SAO shared their experiences and work towards preserving the Blue-billed Curassow (Crax alberti). This constitutes actions that are part of the Vida Silvestre Project (PVS) in the Middle Magdalena.
This was an excellent opportunity to discuss the strategy of the Biodiversa Colombia Foundation, together with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), advancing in the forest swamps of Barbacoas, (Antioquia). There, deforestation and forest fragmentation, among other reasons, have affected this bird to such an extent that she is now in a critical state of threat.
Among the experiences shared in the discussion group, the crucial role of local actors was stressed. With them different activities were completed with a key objective in mind: to raise awareness about the threats to the Blue-billed Curassow and how, in their daily lives, the locals can contribute to the conservation of this species.
An example of the work that has been developed so far, are the workshops in the communities of Santa Clara and Bocas de Barbacoas (Yondó, Antioquia), where local knowledge was exchanged with technical contributions of Vida Silvestre Project. In these meetings, art and fun have allowed the recognition of the ecological role of Blue-billed Curassow by settlers. Solving puzzles, drawing maps of bird’s territory, making origami figures, and knitting and embroidery on canvas, were some of the exercises aimed at making those living with the Blue-billed Curassow more aware.
In the same vein, the Vida Silvestre Project has advanced the characterization and inventory of forests in the area, which together with the promotion and dissemination of sustainable farming, aims to improve connectivity between forests and reduce current rates of deforestation the area.
Let us recall that the Blue-billed Curassow is a key species for successful seed dispersal. Its range requires large areas of unspoilt tropical forests, so their presence is considered an indicator of conservation state of their environment. That is why their protection, at the landscape level, carries a positive impact on the survival of other species and the preservation of high biodiversity in the area.
With support from WCS, the Biodiversa Colombia Foundation is analyzing connectivity between forest patches in order to create corridors that help unite remaining forests, thereby increasing the mobility of the bird. Thanks to a nursery located in the reserve Silencio (Yondo, Antioquia), some corridors are already being built. There, more than 2,000 native tree species (timber and non-timber) will contribute to this task.
To finalize the meeting, it was announced that the presence of the species was confirmed in five of the 18 forests that were studied. Trap cameras and automatic sound recorders were fundamental tools in this research. Similarly, the search for traces during exploratory walks and surveying the villagers have confirmed the presence of the bird in the area.
Currently, FBC works in generating conservation agreements with the owners of the sites that have confirmed the presence of the Blue-billed Curassow. This is to ensure that, even when the Vida Silvestre Project has finished, the ecosystem in which the species lives is maintained and adequately protected.
Remember that the Vida Silvestre Project is an initiative that advances conservation actions both in the Middle Magdalena and in the Eastern Plains of Colombia, and is coordinated by WCS with the support of Ecopetrol and the Mario Santo Domingo Foundation.