Back when our operations at the terminal started in 2017, we noticed that two species of seabirds (Thalasseus acuflavidus or Cabot’s tern and Sterna hirundinacea or South American tern) were coming in annually between April and October to use our facilities for shelter, feeding and reproduction. We realized that their chosen areas were not the most suitable for preserving eggs or sheltering the growing number of animals because of heavy vehicle traffic and operational activities.
We thus looked for sustainable paths that would allow these species to better coexist with our operational activities. In 2019, we executed a diagnosis study that guided ongoing monitoring actions, relocation and handling processes, as well as environmental education efforts. In 2022, we saw the opportunity to go further by setting up a robust conservation project named Birds of Açu. The initiative involves research, conservation, bird handling, mapping out migratory routes, and offering environmental education actions to our employees and communities. There are plans to expand the initiative to other conservation units in northern Rio de Janeiro State to study birdlife and vegetation.

Birds of Açu is grounded on three pillars, which led to three lines of action over five years:

Research, conservation and management of Cabot’s Terns at the Terminal
Research, conservation and management of coastal birdlife in conservation units in the region
Mapping out migratory routes, enriching fauna and flora, and expanding activities to conservation units
Working on these three lines of action since 2022, we track birds, protect nests, monitor reproductive success, and band chicks’ feet
South American Terns using our terminal for breeding
nests identified and protected
eggs with tracked progress
chicks born
received monitoring bands
Banding allows identification and subsequent registration on a national government database. This action was carried out with the support of our operators, triggering emotional responses, engagement and awareness of the project. Local craftsmen made artificial nests using recycled construction materials.
Amid intensive monitoring, targeted handling, and mitigation strategies, we realized that the terminal is a strategic area for the protection and conservation of these species. Thus, Birds of Açu aims to become an incubator and support platform for conservation projects. We plan to establish partnerships, consolidate governance, and find ways for the project to gain autonomy and independence. These pillars are in line with our sustainability management principles, which can be shared and replicated by other terminals.