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The Environment
Rio+20: Itaipu projects promote conservation of biodiversity
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With the event of birth and survival of 11 harpies, the Bela Vista Biological Refuge, from Binational Itaipu, has consolidated itself as a promoter of the most well succeeded program of reproduction in captivity of this one of the biggest raptor birds in the world.

"Our program is for the preservation of the harpies in the South of Brazil, where the bird is threatened by extinction.   If it weren't for captivity, this species would no longer exist around here", stated the biologist Marcos de Oliveira, from the Division of Protected Areas of Itaipu, and one of the responsible for this project.

The idea of reproducing the species in captivity first appeared in 2000, when the Biologic Refuge received a male, taken by the Civil Police. Two years after, the first female arrived. On March, 13th, 2006, the biologists and veterinarians of Itaipu saw the first egg. 

After four frustrated attempts, on January, 15th, 2009, the first specimen kept successfully by the project was born. After that, another 10 babies - the last one of them, number 11, was born in February of this year.

Just like the Harpy, the Bela Vista Biologic Refuge is dedicated to the reproduction of other species that have become rare in the region, such as the bororó-deer and the maracajá-cat. Besides being breeding ground for wild animals, the refuge keeps a zoo, open to the public, which only contains local fauna specimens. 

The origin of the zoo started with the Mymba Kuera operation ("catch animals", in Guarani), that collected thousands of animals in the event of the flooding of the reservoir in the plant.  The operation reflects the care taken with the environment since the construction of the hydroelectric.
Nowadays, Itaipu protects more than 100 thousand hectares of forests, around its reservoir, in Brazil and Paraguay. For the building of this huge patrimony, the company carried out the biggest reforesting action once promoted by a hydroelectric.

Since 1979, more than 23 million seedlings have been planted, specially to recompose the areas degraded by agriculture and cattle activities, which corresponded to the biggest part of the flooded lands during the transformation of the reservoir. From the 34 thousand hectares of the protected areas in Brazil, for example, 18 thousand were wasted. Nowadays, only 2% of the protection strip is missing reforestation.   

'It is worth it to highlight that, according to the legislation of its reservoir, Itaipu would be obliged to keep a protection strip 100 meters wide. However, the protection strip of the reservoir has an average of 217 meters wide", informs the manager of the program: Biodiversity, Our Patrimony, João Antônio Cordoni.

Besides the protection strip of the reservoir, the protected areas of Itaipu are composed by 2 reservations and 8 biologic refuges in the two countries. In Brazil, besides the Bela Vista refue, there is also Santa Helena, and part of the Maracaju refuge.

Biodiversity, our patrimony

From the implementing of the program "Cultivating good Water", in 2003, the actions of Itaipu in this area started to be sheltered by the program Biodiversity, Our Patrimony, that besides responding for the protected areas, acts in the following of the biologic diversity, migration and fish stock of the reservoir, in the research of the processes of reproduction and creation of wild animals of the region, threatened of extinction and in the forest research, focuses in the improvement of the genetic variability of the flora and fauna of the region.

The good results, obtained in the forest recuperation of the protected areas made the company available to a new challenge, the restoration of the Riparian forests of  Paraná 3 watershed (set of rivers connected with the reservoir). Since 2003, the company destined, specifically for this region, more than 3 million seedlings.

One of the success indicators of this iniciative is that many of the region dwellers reported the regress of the animal species that haven't been seen for a long time, and that are coming back to circulation, thanks to your support and reconnection of the remains of native vegetation.
One of the main initiatives to reconnect these remains is the Santa Maria Biodiversity Corridor, that made possible a reconnection of the vegetation of the protection strip of the reservoir with the Parque Nacional do Iguaçu, going through the Private Reservation of Natural Patrimony – RPPN, of Santa Maria farm, which gave name to the project.

The corridor has got more than 37 km of extention. To build it, it was necessary to make 42 rural owners aware of the importance to dedicate part of their lands to the planting of specimens native from trees. For the conclusion of the project, there are less than 10% of the restoration of the area and the transposition of one of the lanes of BR277. Whenever it is ready, the corridor ill allow connection between two of the most extended preserved areas in South of Brazil, the National Park of Iguaçu and Ilha Grande, favoring the dispersion of genes and the improvement of the biodiversity.

Piracema Channel

Another initiative for the conservation of the biodiversity are the studies about the migration of the fish, and the raising of the species existent in the reservoir. Itaipu has the biggest transposition of fish system in the world. With around 10 km of extension, the Piracema Channel presents a complex structure, composed by natural river places, besides lakes and artificial channels, constituting a unique corridor of water.

The monitoring works of the biodiversity in the Piracema channel are confirming presence, until now, of around 150 species in the system, among migrating and stationary ones.

For more information and interviews, please contact:

Press of Itaipu Binacional
55 45 3520-5230