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Project in progress | Protection of fauna and flora

Ecologia Molecular das Antas

Foto: Gabriel Marchi


The CEP - Contínuo Ecológico de Paranapiacaba is formed by a set of public and private Protected Areas that has a total of more than 200,000 ha of Mata Atlântica. From a conservation point of view, it is among the most important Mata Atlântica remnants due to its extension, degree of forest conservation and complexity of animal and plant communities. 

It is one of the regions with the lowest Municipal Human Development Index (HDI) in the State of São Paulo. As a result, disruptive human activities are frequent, conflicting with the conservation of natural resources, such as for example, animal hunting and irregular extraction of native plants.


Tapir (Tapirus terrestris) 

The Tapir (Tapirus terrestris) is considered a key species, as it plays an important role in the ecosystem of its occurrence by shaping the structure and function of the landscape and environment.

As this species have a long reproductive cycle, with 13 to 14 months of gestation and only one (01) offspring per cycle, they are very vulnerable to anthropogenic pressures for having a low resilience capacity. Therefore, today the tapir is classified as “vulnerable” to extinction in Brazil. 

In the Atlantic Forest, the situation is even more urgent due to the intense process of habitat loss and fragmentation that the biome has suffered over the years, plus the fact that the species needs large territories for its survival. In addition to these, several other factors affect the tapir's survival in the Atlantic Forest, even in protected areas, such as: hunting, proximity to domestic animals that result in attacks or disease transmission, being run over and conflicts with farmers.

Community history

Most of the threats to tapir populations are present in the CEP region - Contínuo Ecológico de Paranapiacaba. Its Buffer Zone is characterized by several rural neighborhoods and communities, with a general characteristic of low economic activity and difficulty in accessing public services, factors that favor the occurrence of direct and indirect pressure on the area and natural resources.


The high incidence of albino tapirs in the region indicates a probability of loss in genetic diversity due to the population reduction of the species, while albinism implies a shorter life expectancy on animals in wild habitats. Albino tapirs are generally the result of inbreeding, which means that populations are so reduced or isolated that reproduction ends up occurring between related individuals. This causes genetic diversity to be reduced, which has negative impacts on the adaptability and survival of these animals.


The population reduction of tapirs can trigger significant changes in the region's ecological processes. Through the genetic data collected and analyzed in the project, ecological data will be obtained for the species, such as the degree of kinship between individuals in each area, including the analysis of kinship between individuals with albinism. The data obtained will support the development of action plans and management actions, in order to reduce population, decline or even avoid local extinction of the species, in addition to contributing to actions in the Plano de Ação Nacional for the Conservação dos Ungulados.

Historical impacts:

2007 - The Programa Grandes Mamíferos da Serra do Mar is implemented 

2014 - Registration of the first albino tapir within Legado das Águas, and beginning of research on tapir populations in the Serra do Mar region 

2018 - Registration of the second albino tapir within Legado das Águas 

2019 - The Tapir Project becomes part of the Serra do Mar Large Mammals Program 

2022 - Support for the project “Ecologia molecular das antas da Serra do Mar” by Legado das Águas 

Full name:

Ecologia molecular das antas da Serra do Mar 


12 months.


Mata Atlântica.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): 

The project

The project aims to evaluate the conservation status of the tapir (Tapirus terrestris) in the Contínuo Ecológico de Paranapiacaba, contributing to the construction and guidance of policies and conservation measures for the species, which are also important for protecting the biodiversity of the Atlantic Forest, given its role as a keystone species.


samples amplified, genotyped and analyzed for degree of kinship.


folder with developed biological material collection procedure.

Impacts of the project

Provision of concrete data that supports the decisions of the National Action Plan for the Conservation of Ungulates and managers of the Protected Areas involved.

Project activities

Specific objective 1: Analysis of kinship among albino individuals

This activity aims to identify, based on genetic materials previously collected from the study area, the kinship between the identified albino individuals, in order to verify whether they are genetically related and whether there is a greater degree of kinship between them in relation to non-albino individuals.


To obtain these results, laboratory analyzes such as DNA extraction, amplification of microsatellite loci and genotyping will be performed. 

Protocol for collecting and storing biological samples from wild mammals.


Legado das Águas

The largest private Mata Atlântica reserve in Brazil, with 31 thousand hectares, is recognized as an Outpost of the Atlantic Forest Biosphere, managed by Reservas Votorantim LTDA. and maintained by Votorantim S.A. It is a rare territory, in an advanced stage of conservation and a natural shield for water resources, where scientific research actions linked to the conservation of the fauna and flora of the Atlantic Forest and activities of the new economy are developed such as the production of native plants and ecotourism. 

Programa Grandes Mamíferos da Serra do Mar

The program arose from the need to promote an effective and integrated agenda that could connect different territorial spaces, such as conservation units and local communities, in favor of the conservation of wild fauna in Serra do Mar. It is the result of the persistence and joint effort of researchers from the Cananéia Research Institute and the Manacá Institute, the latter which is also responsible for promoting environmental education, scientific research and nature tourism actions. 

Laboratório de Biodiversidade Molecular e Conservação - UFSCar

LabBMC develops studies in Evolutionary Biology, Population Genetics and Genomics focused on Biodiversity and its Conservation. It is located in the Department of Genetics and Evolution (DGE), at UFSCar, São Carlos campus.

Bioeconomy platform that enables projects to value Brazilian biodiversity. It has a multidisciplinary team with more than 12 years of experience in project management and corporate communication. Its work has already enabled the operation of 23 projects to enhance biodiversity and created a network of more than 500 organizations and companies active in the socio-environmental cause. 

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