With an attractive design, graphics and varied photographs, the text seeks to make accessible information about this unique species in this part of the world.
In the Extension Center of the University of La Serena, the official presentation of the book '' Natural History of the Tricahue Loro in the North of Chile '' was developed, edited by the researchers Dr. Renzo Vargas (ULS-CEAZA-IEB) and Dr. Francisco Squeo (ULS-CEAZA). The book was commissioned by the mining company Barrick Pascua-Lama, product of an environmental commitment and the need to carry out a responsible work with the environment.
The volume, the product of four years of research, aims in a simple and visual way to promote the ecological importance of the Tricahue parrot as a species and the role it plays in its ecological system. "We are beginning to understand the ecological importance of the Tricahue parrot as a species and the role it plays in its ecological system. This bird consumes seeds of shrubs and trees of its environment and, in addition, scatters them to different places. For example, it is possible to find seeds of forage plants, from which they feed, near breeding sites or mare, although these shrubs are generally far from them. The parrot is moving, dispersing and favoring the genetic flow of the vegetation it feeds on, "explained Dr. Vargas.
The specialist added that this animal also participates in the regulation of the abundance of plants because it consumes the seeds. '' There are other places in the South of Chile where it has also been seen that the parrot is able to consume the nectar of Chagual flowers. Therefore, it could be a pollinator of these species, "he said.
In the context of the presentation of the book, the territorial manager of the Senderos de Chile Foundation, Manuel Rojas, said that "the approach they gave to the book makes it very enjoyable and directed towards citizen science, towards people. It is an easy book to digest, to read and to clearly evaluate what is being exposed. "
Rojas added that "the book provides new and interesting information regarding its coverage, current and future condition, is a publication that manages to reconcile all eyes on this bird."
Later, in a detailed presentation, Dr. Renzo Vargas, researcher at the University of La Serena, referred to the main aspects addressed in the text, highlighting the need to know and preserve the species and educate both the communities close to their nesting areas, like the rest of the population regarding their habits and living conditions.
From what is known about genetic and evolutionary evolution, the Tricahue parrot inhabits this part of the world at least thirty thousand years ago. In captivity, he is able to live around twenty years and somewhat less in a wild way. An interesting aspect is that it is also distributed in Argentina and Uruguay. Throughout its distribution area between these two countries and Chile, there are four subspecies, which on the other side of the mountain range are known as barranqueros parrots.
'' A study conducted by an Argentine biologist, discovered that the most ancestral populations of the species are found in Chile. In fact, the subspecies found in this country is endemic, that is, it is only in this country. And from this endemic subspecies have been derived those in Argentina and Uruguay. Therefore, the time that has been present here is very long and the value of the Chilean subspecies is very high for the whole species in general, "said the scientist.
Dr. Vargas explained that the Tricahue parrot is exposed to various threats, mainly generated by human (anthropic) influence. The main ones would be degradation of their habitat, due to the productive development that would deteriorate the diverse environments in which the parrots develop different phases of their lives.
'' The construction of roads in some places has affected the breeding grounds, leaving them useless and inaccessible. The development of mining projects can also affect in the same sense. The production of coal affects the presence of the species of plants that serve as food for the parrot. Farming, on a large scale, also involves the removal of a large number of plants that are normally their food and the water that is vital for the Tricahues. On the other hand, the hunt, which until a while ago was thought to be no longer a threat, we discovered that it still is and that through this method they are sold at exorbitant prices, "he said.
The future, preserve the species
As a product of this project, the program for the conservation of the Tricahue parrot has been created, led by these same specialists at the University of La Serena, who develop activities in the field of research, education and management for conservation.
"The region is not characterized by having protected areas for the conservation of biodiversity but they do have large productive areas. That is why we need, on the one hand, to create protected areas for the key sites of the species and, on the other hand, to achieve their conservation in productive environments, such as the development and conservation of biodiversity in general and of the Tricahues. in particular, be possible, "Vargas emphasized.
The specialist stressed that it is necessary to transmit this information that has been generated to as many people as possible, especially to new generations, children and young people, as well as decision makers. '' The participation of people in education and conservation programs is very important. There are people who live near the parrots that have a great appreciation, as reported in the book Doña Petronilla Vallejo and Don Orlando Marambio. On the other hand, inter-institutional cooperation is essential. Working with other organizations such as CONAF, SAG, the ULS, and private companies such as Barrick, is the key and shows the way forward. Together we are collaborating to be able to favor the conservation of the species, '' he said.
In this regard, Rodolfo Westhoff, environmental manager of Barrick Pascua-Lama, indicated that the concern for carrying out the first ecological study on this species in Chile was due to "the need to carry out a responsible work with the environment and with the communities next to the company ''.
Westhoff added that "this book is part of an environmental commitment that Pascua-Lama signed, due to the construction of a high-voltage line. There we committed ourselves to monitor and study the population of Tricahue Parrots in Quebrada Los Choros. The study contemplates important areas, such as population density, body characteristics, evolution and phylogeography, evolution and deserficación, and distribution in Chile, among others, adding to this several initiatives of conservation of the species, such as signage, triptychs and dissemination to the community and the workers. This book will allow to leave a concrete inheritance of knowledge to the future generations on a species that is in danger of extinction and that until today coexists with the communities ".
For his part, Dr. Francisco Squeo, an academic from the ULS, said that "we develop basic research of interest both for the communities and for the private sector, this research is in the context of several science studies financed by the sector. private, in this case by the mining company Barrick that has collaborated, as is the world trend, in support of research. We also have access to financing sources for the different competitive funds and we continue working with species such as guanacos and llaretas or on the Andean highlands, among others. Doing high level research at the University of La Serena, also allows you to get to undergraduate teaching. In many cases the teachers who do research use the examples of their work in their classes and thus the students face problems of global importance with a very important local meaning ".
The meeting was attended by authorities headed by the Rector of the University of La Serena, Dr. Nibaldo Avilés, representatives of Barrick Pascua-Lama, researchers, academics, students and special guests, who recognized the importance of this initiative and the need to generate a culture of protection, fundamental for the care and preservation of the different species that inhabit this area of the country.