Jacu, the forest engineer

Jacu, the forest engineer

Due to the loss of their natural habitat with the growth of agricultural areas and cities, many species are losing their space and decreasing their populations.

These species, like all others, depend on native forests and forests for their survival. And incredible as it may seem, forests depend on the species that inhabit them performing important roles for vegetation in a region.

A fine example of the importance of this relationship can be observed with a bird typical of our region, but not very common today, called Jacu (Penelope sp.). It has an important role for the life of local forests doing a job of seed disperser of various native plant species. Its size is very large and can reach about 70 cm from head to tail, which is very long and rounded. A very important characteristic to identify it is the red chat below the head.

The Jacus live in family groups of 3 to 5 individuals where they use the soil and the trees for their displacement in search of food. They move through large stretches of forest in search of fruits and small insects. In their journeys they end up feeding on several native seeds, which end up being taken to other places where the bird defecates and leaves a new seed to germinate. This is a masterpiece of nature, where not only the Jacu, but several other species, play this important role. An example is the fruits produced by some native species such as Imbiridiba, Murici and Cavaçu-de-Rama, consumed by the jacus during the flowering period.

Today, with the few remnants of the Atlantic Forest in the region, these birds have their natural environment very reduced and threatened by deforestation and illegal hunting in areas of riparian forests and preservation areas such as the Pipa Forest Park (PEMP), which is a of its few refuges. The Ecological Sanctuary plays an important role in the refuge of these and other animals as well.

Like all species, the Jacu has its function in the local ecosystem as a great engineer in the distribution of plant species in the forests. We have to know and learn much more about the relationships of our species in nature.

By Daniel Henrique Gil.

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