‘Extinct’ holly tree in Brazil rediscovered living in big city, say scientists – DAVID RAUDALES

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‘Extinct’ holly tree in Brazil rediscovered living in big city, say scientists

The flowers of a Pernambuco holly tree (Ilex sapiiformis).

Re:wild/Fred Jordão

A type of holly tree in Brazil that was believed to be extinct was rediscovered after 186 years.
An organization called Re:wild said it was one of their “top 25 most wanted lost species.”
The rediscovery is the ninth success of the top 25 most sought-after lost species.

A species of small holly tree known as “Ilex sapiiformis,” or the Pernambuco holly, has reemerged in Brazil after nearly two centuries, a conservation organization reported.

The discovery, hailed as an “incredible find” by scientists, has sent shockwaves through the conservation community.

The tree, which was feared to have gone extinct, was recently found thriving in the city of Igarassu, in the Pernambuco state of northeastern Brazil.

“It was like finding a long-lost and long-awaited relative that you only know by old portraits,” said Milton Groppo, a researcher at the University of São Paulo. 

The identification of the Pernambuco holly was made possible by the expedition team, who recognized the tree by its distinctive tiny white flowers.

The breakthrough came after during a six-day expedition through the region led by Gustavo Martinelli, an ecologist with Navia Biodiversity, per Re:wild, an environmental conservation organization.

Four trees were found in an area that was once dense Atlantic tropical forest but is now mostly urban areas interspersed with sugarcane plantations.

By the 1980s, “less than 5% of the southeastern Atlantic Forest remained intact, and what remains is very fragmented,” per Re:wild. 

The species had been lost for 186 years.

Re:wild shared their excitement on Instagram, stating, “The Pernambuco Holly is one of our top 25 most wanted lost species.”

 

The “Search for Lost Species” initiative, launched by Re:wild in 2017, brought together experts from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to compile a list of over 2,200 missing species spanning 160 countries.

These species, which had disappeared for at least a decade, represent a significant loss to biodiversity. 

The Pernambuco holly’s triumphant return marks the ninth rediscovery among the top 25 most sought-after lost species, breathing new life into conservationists’ efforts.

 

 

 

Read the original article on Business Insider