About Us

About Us

Black-fronted Piping-Guan (EN)

Instituto Claravis works for the conservation of Brazilian biodiversity. Through its field conservation center, the Institute runs and collaborates on field conservation projects for threatened species including some of the most endangered birds on the planet. As a regional resource center for the IUCN’s Species Survival Commission and IUCN SSC Conservation Planning Specialist Group, Instituto Claravis acts as a national hub to boost regional species conservation efforts by bringing global standards and tools, networking and building capacity to assess and plan to save species.

We believe in a collaborative approach and work with governments, non-profits, universities, zoos, conservation breeding centers and others to deliver conservation results.

 

Our work is spread across three conservation Centers: The Center for Conservation of Atlantic Rainforest Birds, the IUCN SSC Center for Species Survival Brasil, and the Wild Fauna Support Center (CAFS) “Aves da Mata Atlântica” in partnership with the government of the State of Paraná located in Foz do Iguaçu.

Chestnut-eared Aracari rescue chick being taken care at the Wild Fauna Support Center (CAFS).

Instituto Claravis was established in 2020 by the team of Parque das Aves, as part of Parque das Aves’ commitment to the birds of the Atlantic Rainforest, and to the people and projects acting to help them. Parque das Aves is a bird park in Foz do Iguaçu, Paraná, Brazil, founded in 1994 by Anna and Dennis Croukamp. In 2017, Parque das Aves decided to focus its resources on conservation of Atlantic Rainforest birds. As part of achieving that mission, Instituto Claravis was born. Parque das Aves is committed to funding the operations, including most staff salaries, of Instituto Claravis.

Our Team

 
Our team includes biologists, veterinarians and others with decades of experience in the conservation of species and ecosystems.
 

Claravis and the Extinction Crisis of the Birds of the Atlantic Rainforest

There was once a small grey dove that lived in the rainforests of Iguaçu. It was a shy, quiet species, appearing from time to time when the great taquara bamboos produced their rare flowers and seeds, and then melting back into the forest. It had shimmering iridescent spots on its wings, which gave it its name: the Purple-winged Ground-dove, Claravis geoffroyi.

Now, nobody has seen one for sure in decades. The species is feared to be extinct, another victim of the devastation of the Atlantic Rainforests of Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. By the time we learned of the possible extinction of this species, it may already have been too late. Dove breeders had established a captive population during the 1970s and 1980s, but with changes in legislation, these efforts were dismantled by the 1990s. Few recognised that this was a species already on the brink of extinction, and, tied up in well-intentioned but suffocating bureaucracy, the birds dwindled away to nothing.

Claravis geoffroyi, male and female.
Illustration by Robin Aubrey.

Unlike the Passenger Pigeon, the Thylacine, or the Carolina Parakeet, we don’t know when and where the last captive individual died. The last of the species, the endling – if the species is indeed no more – was never named. One of the last flew into a window in São Paulo and died on 15 March 1991. It is suspected to have been a captive bird, released when the owner could no longer see a way to comply with new rules about the breeding of threatened species. The bird breeders who had kept the bird knew it was a rare and special species, but did not realise they would be witnesses to extinction. This was a quiet, almost unnoticed dwindling away.

By the time the team at Parque das Aves learned of the possible extinction of this species, it may already have been too late. We were shocked that a species could disappear like this, on our doorstep, without anyone really paying attention. If Parque das Aves, an institution situated in the Atlantic Forest with a long history in bird conservation, could not do something, who would? It was that moment of realisation that led to Parque das Aves re-orienting around the mission of conserving the birds of the Atlantic Rainforest. To more effectively pursue that mission, we founded Instituto Claravis in 2020.

Clara: bright, shining, clear. Avis: bird. The mission of Instituto Claravis is “to shine a light on forgotten species”: to promote the conservation of birds and other species of conservation concern and reduce their risk of extinction. Through the Center for Conservation of Atlantic Rainforest Birds, we focus on the biome within which we – alongside more than 70% of the Brazilian population – are situated. Through the IUCN SSC Center for Species Survival Brazil, we work to build capacity to assess and improve the flow of information between the national and global red lists of threatened species, as well as to facilitate conservation planning for those species in need of action plans. Through the Center for Rescue and Rehabilitation of Birds of the Atlantic Rainforest, we provide shelter and rehabilitation for rescued and confiscated birds.

Claravis geoffroyi was not alone. Brazil has more threatened bird species than any other country, and they are found above all in the Atlantic Rainforests. We have already lost some – the Glaucous Macaw, Alagoas Foliage-gleaner, Cryptic Treehunter. Others might be lost, but like the Purple-winged Ground-dove, some faint hope remains – Pernambuco Pygmy-owl, Kinglet Calyptura, Rio de Janeiro Antwren. Yet more species are Critically Endangered, teetering on the brink of extinction.

Our vision is for every Brazilian species of conservation concern that needs one to have an effective conservation strategy implemented to reduce their risk of extinction, and for conservation professionals and projects to receive the support they need to implement these strategies. In memory of Claravis, our work is to shine a light on species that might otherwise be forgotten, with the aim of preventing further extinctions.

Who We Are

Center for Conservation of Atlantic Rainforest Birds

Director: Dr Ben Phalan
Tony Bichinski
Caio Prates
Dr Glaucia Seixas

IUCN SSC Center for Species Survival Brazil

Director: Dr Fabiana Lopes Rocha
Dr Eugenia Cordero Schmidt
Rosana Subira

Wild Fauna Support Center (CAFS) “Aves da Mata Atlântica”

Director: Paloma Bosso
Coordinator: Roberta Manacero
Richarlyston Brandt Pereira
Mathias Dislich
Lígia Rigoleto Oliva

Institutional

President: Dr Carmel Croukamp
Superintendent: Paloma Bosso
Secretary-General: Jurema Fernandes
Financial Director: Oliver Davies

Roberta Manacero, MSc

Coordinator
Wild Fauna Support Center (CAFS)

Roberta has a Bachelor's Degree in Veterinary Medicine, Post-graduate Degree in Wild Animals Medicine and Master's Degree in Medicine and Animal Welfare. She was a Resident at the Animal Behavioral Enrichment Program at São Paulo Zoo for three years, member of the Animal Welfare Department of the São Paulo Association of Zoos and Aquariums for four years and took professional courses on training wild animals using operant conditioning in the United States, England and Mexico. She is a professional member of IAATE - International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators - and Studbook Keeper of the grey-breasted parakeet (Pyrrhura griseipectus). Her work is focused on animal records keeping, husbandry and welfare, as she is currently the Animal Curator of Parque das Aves and Coordinator of the Center for Rescue and Rehabilitation of Birds of the Atlantic Rainforest (CAFS Aves da Mata Atlântica) at Instituto Claravis.

Caio Prates

Assistant
Blue-fronted Amazon Project
Center for Conservation of Atlantic Rainforest Birds

Caio was born and raised in Ivinhema, in Mato Grosso do Sul, where he gained a degree in Biological Sciences at the State University of Mato Grosso do Sul, graduating in December 2017. He got to know the Blue-fronted Amazon Project in mid-2018, when he served as a volunteer on two field expeditions. That experience left him keen to join the Project team to contribute to the conservation of the species and help combat illegal trade in parrot chicks. In August 2019 he was hired as a Research Assistant for the Blue-fronted Amazon Project for Instituto Claravis. His salary is kindly funded by Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens, Florida, USA. Caio assists the Project coordinator, Gláucia Seixas in monitoring nests and delivering environmental education activities in local communities.

Tony Bichinski, MSc

Conservation Assistant
Center for Conservation of Atlantic Rainforest Birds

Tony graduated in Forestry Engineering from the Latin American Union of Technology, and received a Master's degree in Natural Resources from the Federal University of Roraima. Since childhood, he has been interested in the reproductive cycle of birds and he started to collect data on the breeding biology of Brazilian species from the age of 13. Over 20 years of field research, he has visited different habitats in all the biomes of the country, collecting detailed and unique data on more than 400 species, adding up to a total of more than 7000 nests with information collected in the wild. Currently, he is an Environmental and Forestry Consultant for several companies. His work with Instituto Claravis focuses on integrated conservation of threatened birds, with a focus on the Atlantic Rainforest, including the Alagoas Antwren, Black-fronted Piping-guan, and Blue-eyed Ground Dove.

Dr Eugenia Cordero Schmidt

Officer
IUCN SSC Centre for Species Survival Brazil

Eugenia is a Costa Rican biologist, who received her Bachelor's degree at Universidad de Costa Rica and Master's and Doctoral degrees in Ecology at the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte. She has worked for the past eleven years with bats. Her most recent research has focused on the interactions between nectar-feeding bats and plants in the threatened Caatinga. She has also worked with ecology and conservation projects in Costa Rica and northeastern Brazil and participated in bat conservation strategies in Central America, using environmental education and communication as essential tools. Her work now is focused on planning for species conservation and communication where her creativity and ability to adapt are put into practice every day.

Rosana Subira

Red List Officer
IUCN SSC Centre for Species Survival Brazil

Rosana is a biologist with a Master's Degree in Ecology from the University of Brasília. She has worked for almost 20 years in public administration roles related to wildlife conservation. Her experience includes project management and coordination of multidisciplinary teams in the implementation of work on a national scale, biodiversity risk assessment in terrestrial and marine environments, conservation planning and proposing and implementing measures to address impacts on biodiversity. Through these activities she has developed a network of contacts with people from the most diverse sectors and interests, including researchers, community members and public administrators from various regions of Brazil, and has developed skills in conflict management and constructing collective agreements. She started her career working with primates, but her interests soon expanded to the entire fauna.

Dr Gláucia Seixas

Coordinator
Blue-fronted Amazon Project
Center for Conservation of Atlantic Rainforest Birds

Gláucia is a Zootechnician with a Master’s and Doctorate in Ecology and Nature Conservation, and for the last 30 years has dedicated herself to nature conservation. In 1997, while working at a Center for Rehabilitation of Fauna in Mato Grosso do Sul, she founded the Blue-fronted Amazon Project. With the support of Parque das Aves, Naples Zoo and Fundação Neotrópica, she and her team work in the conservation of the Blue-fronted Amazon and its habitat, as well as in the fight against illegal trade, in Mato Grosso do Sul and beyond. For 20 years field activities were concentrated in the Pantanal of Mato Grosso do Sul and in 2015 they were expanded to the Atlantic Forest and Cerrado of Mato Grosso do Sul.

Dr Fabiana Lopes Rocha

Coordinator
IUCN SSC Centre for Species Survival Brazil

Fabiana is a wildlife veterinarian and ecologist, and received her Master's degree from Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul and Doctoral degree from Oswaldo Cruz Foundation. She is an advisor in Ecology, environmental monitoring and Zoology at the Federal University of Paraiba (UFPB). Her academic interest is in the areas of ecology, parasitology, and conservation of wild mammals, with an emphasis on carnivores and One Health. She is the convenor of the Conservation Planning Specialist Group - CPSG Brasil and member of the Cerrado´s mammal conservation program, Conservation Medicine Brazilian Institute and researcher of Laboratory of mammals and evolution (UFPB). Her work now focuses on bringing global standards, global connectivity and improved capacity for regional efforts for species assessment, planning and action within governments and NGOs as well as other relevant stakeholders to prevent species extinctions.

Dr Ben Phalan

Director
Center for Conservation of Atlantic Rainforest Birds

Ben is an ornithologist and conservation biologist, who received his Bachelor's degree at Trinity College Dublin and Doctoral degree from the University of Cambridge. He has worked over the years for BirdWatch Ireland, British Antarctic Survey, Oregon State University and the Federal University of Bahia. His research has focused primarily on how to reconcile food production and other human demands with biodiversity conservation. He published the first full empirical assessment of the land sparing/sharing framework, based on fieldwork in Ghana. He led an expedition to Liberia in search of the Liberian Greenbul, a "lost", Critically Endangered West African endemic, helping to confirm that it had never been a valid species. His work now is focused on planning, implementing and supporting actions to protect and restore populations of the most imperilled bird species of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest.

Paloma Bosso, MSc

Superintendent
Instituto Claravis

Paloma is a veterinarian and received her Master's Degree in Veterinary Science, at the Animal Welfare Laboratory of the Federal University of Paraná. She also has a specialization (lato sensu) in Wild Animal Husbandry (in situ e ex situ) from the Catholic Pontifical University from Belo Horizonte and participated in the Professional Development Program of São Paulo Zoo in their Animal Behavioral Enrichment Sector. She is a specialist in animal behaviour and welfare and Paloma's principal passions are overseeing high standards of welfare, integrated conservation and conservation contributions of ex-situ populations of threatened species. Paloma is co-founder of the Center for Conservation of Atlantic Rainforest Birds, IUCN SSC Center for Species Survival and Claravis Institute and established the Wild Fauna Support Center (CAFS) "Aves da Mata Atlântica" in 2021. She has been the Technical Director of Parque das Aves since 2017. She has overseen Parque das Aves' institutional transformation to focus on birds of the Atlantic Rainforest. She is a member of the Welfare Committee of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), and an accreditation inspector at the Latin American Association of Zoos and Aquaria (ALPZA). She was a member of the Ethics, Bioethics and Animal Welfare Commission of the Federal Veterinary Council in Brazil, and Executive Director of the Brazilian Association of Zoos and Aquaria (AZAB).

Dr Carmel Croukamp

President
Instituto Claravis

Carmel received her Bachelors and Doctoral degrees at the University of Oxford. She is the daughter of the founders of Parque das Aves, and took over the running of Parque das Aves as CEO in 2014. In 2016, Carmel came to understand that a species of her backyard, the forests of Iguaçu, named Claravis geoffroy, had likely gone extinct, and that the extinction of Claravis was part of a wave of extinctions starting to sweep through the birds of the Atlantic Rainforest. As a result, Parque das Aves underwent an institutional change in order to focus on conservation of birds of the Atlantic Rainforest. The Center for Conservation of Atlantic Rainforest Birds and the IUCN SSC Center for Species Survival as well as Instituto Claravis itself were founded as part of this initiative. Carmel sits on the Technical Advisory Board of the Brazilian Government's National Action Plan for the Birds of the Atlantic Rainforest (ICMBio PAN Aves da Mata Atlântica), on the Board of Directors of Global Conservation Network (GCN) which oversees the IUCN SSC Conservation Planning Specialist Group and the Amphibian Ark institute, is a member of the Conservation Committee of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums and a councillor of the Iguaçu National Park, amongst other board memberships and directorships.