earth will continue to regenerate its life sources only as long
as we and all the peoples of the world do our part to conserve
its natural resources. It is a responsibility which every human
being shares. Through voluntary action, each of us can join in
building a productive land in harmony with nature."
Gerald Ford -
Proclaiming March 21st as Earth Day
Earth Day was
first proposed by John McConnell, president of WE, Inc. (present
Earth Society), in early October 1969 to a few members of the
San Francisco Board of Supervisors and other community leaders
interested in caring for natural environment. His proposal resulted
in the celebration of the first Earth Day on March 21, 1970,
the day of the vernal equinox (also the first day of spring in
the northern hemisphere) - the vernal equinox is the moment when
night and day are equal throughout the Earth. Earth Day observations
and celebrations include different social classes, nationalities
and cultures. It is a successful catalyst for ongoing environmental
education, action and change.
further information and pictures of the mico-leão,
Mata Atlântica - Southern Grasslands
"In addition to
the rainforest, Pantanal, Cerrado, and Caatinga, the grasslands
are an important component of the Brazilian landscape. Mostly
located in the Southern part of the country, this type of vegetation
is made of "clean fields", or humid steppes. Grass,
shrubs and other types of low vegetation usually cover the ground.
It is an ideal habitat for a great variety of animals. The region
covered by the Southern grasslands has a subtropical type of
climate, with mild temperatures and regular rainfall, without
much change being registered during the year.
mild climate and naturally fertile favored the rapid settlement
of the region in the 19th century, particularly by European and
Japanese immigrants . The rich soils helped for a quick spread
of farming activities in Southern Brazil, without adequate soil
tilling practices, resulting in erosion and other serious problems.
In order to expand farming areas, German and Italian settlers
indiscriminately cleared the forest in the first half of this
century. Currently, more than half of this biome has been destroyed,
together with several rodent species that fed on pine nuts, birds
and insects. The remainder is confined to state conservation
Text about the Mata Atlântica reproduced with permission
from WWF-Brazil. © 2005 WWF-Brazil. All rights reserved.
Mata Atlântica originally covered about 1 million square
kilometers, but the urban development along the coast and the
agriculture in the countryside destroyed great part of the original
forests. The remainders are less than 7% of the original area
and the natural habit of the "mico-leão-dourado",
the lowland atlantic coastal forests of the Rio de Janeiro State,
is reduced to less than 2% of its original area, besides being
totally fragmented, divided in small blocks separated by pastures,
roads and constructions.
the colonization of Brazil, these primates could be found in
a large number in the woods where it is today the present Rio
de Janeiro (city). The navigator Fernão de Magalhães
reported seeing them in the beaches of Rio de Janeiro. Gradually,
the "mico-leão" started to be seen in Europe
as a precious pet, which stimulated its capture and traffic.
Victim of its own beauty, the "mico-leão-dourado"
was almost extinct in the 70's when they were captured in large
numbers. In 1971, based on studies that showed that just a little
more than 200 animals remained free in nature, there were efforts
to guarantee the survival of the species. Groups of national
and international organizations, among them the WWF, started
a project that is still being developed in the "Reserva
Biológica de Poço das Antas", in Silva Jardim,
located in Rio de Janeiro, with the aim of assuring the survival
of the populations of "micos-leões-dourados"
in their natural habitat.
the help of these organizations, the number of these primates
free in nature increased from a little more than 200 in the beginning
of the 70's to 1.000 in 2004. Despite the partial success, it
does not guarantee the preservation of the species. It is necessary
to have a population of approximately 2.000 animals to guarantee
their survival. All animals that can be found in the 140 zoos
that participate in the program of reproduction in captivity,
officially belong to IBAMA (Instituto Brasileiro
do Meio Ambiente) and to Brasil.
are four kinds of "micos-leões" that can by
found only in Brasil: the "mico-leão-dourado",
which lives in the Lowland Atlantic Coastal Forest of Rio de
Janeiro State; the "mico-leão-da-cara-dourada",
found in the "Reserva Biológica de Una", south
of Bahia; the "mico-leão-preto", found in the
Morro do Diabo, in Pontal do Paranapanema (São Paulo);
and the "mico-leão-da-cara-preta", discovered
only in 1990, which lives in the "Parque do Superagüi",
located in Paraná, state in the south of Brazil.
about the mico-leão obtained from WWF-Brazil and Rio Zoo. English translation by me.
"mico-leão-dourado" (Leontopithecus rosalia),
Golden-Lion-Tamarin in Enligsh, is the symbol of the struggle
for the preservation of the Brazilian endangered species. Measuring
about 60 cm and weighing 600 grs, this small primate is one of
the most rare in the whole world. It can live up to 15 years
in its natural habitat. They eat insects and fruits and are more
active at night. They are monogamic and live in groups of 4 to
7individuals. Their reproduction begins in September and most
of them are born between January and February. They are normally
born twins. Unfortunately, the Mata Atlântica, the natural
habit of the "mico-leão-dourado", is the second
threatened forestal ecosystem of the planet .
taken by me at the Zoo in Rio de Janeiro, on January, 22 2005.
please visit the website Associação
If you want to
make a donation and help some Brazilian species to continue
on our planet, please visit the websites below.
you do not wish to donate to any of these organizations, please
consider making a donation to
any other organization in your own country. If we all do our
we will contribute to helping our planet Earth.
page was Care to Share's Featured site of the Month in February
Thanks Caroline !
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