Land Purchase Is First Protection for Rediscovered Blue-eyed Ground-dove

Alyssa Wiltse-Ahmad

Jan 9, 2018

NewsProtected AreasSpecies

  • Blue-eyed Ground-dove. Photo by Rafael Bessa.

The recently rediscovered Blue-eyed Ground-dove now has a protected habitat to call home thanks to the purchase of a 1466-acre private property in Brazil. Rainforest Trust teamed up with its local partner Sociedade para a Conservação das Aves do Brasil (SAVE Brasil) to purchase the unique cerrado habitat (a type of highly threatened Brazilian savanna), which is the most rapidly disappearing habitat in the country – even before Amazon rainforest loss.

  • Rocky cerrado habitat of the Blue-eyed Ground-dove. Photo by Eduardo Gomes.

The Blue-eyed Ground-dove, assessed as Critically Endangered by BirdLife International, is one of the rarest birds in the world. It was lost for 75 years and was thought to be extinct until a population was rediscovered in 2015 by an independent ornithologist. Collaborating with SAVE Brasil and Rainforest Trust, a research group undertook an intensive survey for the species and created a comprehensive conservation plan. Although this rediscovery was one of the most amazing ornithological finds in recent memory, before this new land purchase, this highly threatened bird had no protection and was at grave risk.

“In an urgent bid to save this beautiful dove, we supported searches to locate other populations in the hope it was already protected,” said Dr. Paul Salaman, CEO of Rainforest Trust.

“But after intensive searches it was clear that just one private property being sold for development contained the vast majority of all surviving individuals. With our partner SAVE Brasil we acted swiftly to purchase this property and permanently safeguard the species.”

The Blue-eyed Ground-dove Reserve is considered an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area and will qualify as a Key Biodiversity Area. In addition to the Blue-eyed Ground-dove, other endemic bird species found in the area include the Cipo Canestero, Narrow-billed Antwren, Hyacinth Visorbearer and the Pale-throated Pampa-finch.

  • Blue-eyed Ground-dove. Photo by SAVE Brasil.

“The purchase of this reserve is an important achievement for the protection of the only known population of the Blue-eyed Ground-dove,” said Dr. Pedro Develey, CEO of SAVE Brasil. “In addition, this private reserve will be part of a larger mosaic of protected areas that includes a municipal and a state reserve, forming a 75,000-acre complex assuring the long-term protection of the dove’s habitat, as well as the region’s rich biodiversity and natural resources.”

With the help of our generous friends around the world and the SAVES Challenge, this project is a success. A special thank you to the James Family Charitable Foundation, the Marshall-Reynolds Foundation, Scott and Rebecca Rasmussen, Ted and Kay Reissing, Lawrence Tompson and Sally Vogel for their leadership support.