Adopt a public space in Rio

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O Dia
October 2018

Rio’s mayor, Marcelo Crivella, launched the digital platform Adote.Rio, in which companies, citizens and social organizations can sign up to adopt trees, flower beds, gardens, squares, parks, monuments and fountains in the city. There is no need to pay anything to City Hall for the adoption of a public space. The company or the person who decides to participate in the project is responsible for the maintenance of the area or equipment. On the other hand, their name will be linked to the adoption via a plaque that holds a QR code.

“Adote.Rio arrives at a time when the city needs creativity, in a moment of crisis. We no longer live in a time of populist solutions. This is the spirit of Adote.Rio. We will only overcome this difficult moment with work and solidarity”, said Crivella.

The adoption of the city’s common-use public assets and green areas already exists. Today, Rio has 256 areas, of which 36 are squares. The total space for adoption is 1.5 million square meters, equivalent to three Quintas da Boa Vista.

“What does someone who adopts an area have to do?” “Maintain it,” he says, “as you would your own house.” Make that environment nice and clean. Each person will see what needs do be done according to the space’s use. There will be no expenses beyond these, but it is important to know that the adoption does not give the right to commercial use of the area,” said Cristina Monteiro, Director of Planning and Projects of the Parks and Gardens Foundation.

The Institute of Environmental Events (IEVA) is one of the partners that takes part in this experience. The area they adopted in January of this year is the Recanto do Trovador Park, the former Zoo in Vila Isabel in the Zona Norte. Since then, the now well-taken care of space – which before was visited by 350 people per month – receives 3,000 visitors. “It is a contribution to the community of Morro dos Macacos, above all, adjacent to the park and which has a large need of a leisure area. When companies or citizens do this, they disown City Hall and allow the government to shift its attention to more schools, hospitals and other important sectors,” said IEVA President Alexandre Gontijo.

Mongeral Aegon, an insurance and pension company, has adopted a two-block area two years ago at Travessa Belas Artes and Rua Imperatriz, near Praça Tiradentes, in the city center. The initiative enhanced the area around its headquarters and even improved the atmosphere among employees. “Adopting is worth it. This has created a relaxed atmosphere not only for the neighborhood but also for the employees, who come here with joy today because the surrounding area has become more valuable and more pleasant,” said Isauro Cardoso, advisor to the company’s president.

According to City Hall, the platform Adote.Rio was created to expand this movement and facilitate partnerships, with total transparency. First, areas and monuments downtown will be offered for adoption. Little by little, adoption options in other neighborhoods of the city will be added to the portal. Today, the city of Rio counts 2,200 urbanized plazas, 36 urban parks, 1,300 monuments and fountains and 450 kilometers of bike path as adoptable spaces.

“Those who love (something), take care of it, That’s the spirit of the Adote.Rio portal: to make a rapprochement between those who love a place, in this case, the citizen or the company, and the public good that is the target of this love, so that it may be adopted,” said the city secretary for the Environment, Roberto Nascimento.

How Adote.Rio Works

Initially, downtown areas and their surroundings that are available for adoption, such as Cidade Nova, Santa Teresa, Santo Cristo and São Cristóvão, will be listed on Adote.Rio. This does not prevent spaces from other regions from being adopted. But the idea is that this list is fed continuously, with the insertion of new areas in the city available at each update.

“All the squares and gardens that can be adopted are already cataloged on the site, and it is very easy: just click on the link, sign up and choose which areas to adopt, for example: a bench in a plaza, or a set of playgrounds in another plaza. All that is needed, including documentation, is easily found on the site,” commented the president of Iplan-Rio, Fábio Pimentel.

The digital platform Adote.Rio, created by Rio’s City Hall, is a partnership between Parks and Gardens Foundation, Superintendency of Downtown, João Goulart Foundation, Secretariat of Conservation and Environment, and IplanRio. – Source (PT)

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RioZoo to become a biopark

 

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In the first quarter of 2019, visitors who visit Rio’s Zoo in Quinta da Boa Vista will participate in a safari on a 400-meter-long boat ride down an artificial river. The attraction will take place in the 12,000-square-foot savannah area, a biome that will have species such as zebras and giraffes – which currently no longer exist in the area and will once again enchant children and adults – as well as wildebeests. This will be the first of the six biomes that will form the new park to be delivered to the public. The demolition of the old space for sea lions, in early June, marked the beginning of construction.

At an announced cost of US$17.3 million, the improvements will be funded by Grupo Cataratas, as foreseen in the 35-year concession contract, signed in 2016, with Rio’s city hall. The intervention, which will be completed by the end of 2019, aims to adapt the area of the zoo – whose entry will cost just over $9 after the end of the modernization project (currently a ticket is around $5) – to the new model around the world: the inverse enclosure, where visitors traverse smaller areas and animals share wider areas, rather than cages, similar to the natural habitat of these species.

“Rio’s zoo is quite old. We’ve arrivat at the concept of a more modern zoo. There are examples of zoos that are world landmarks, such as the one in San Diego. All these attractions already exist in other zoos. We want to build a brand new zoo by searching for the best ideas out there. In the project, the area for the public is smaller than it is today because it’s currently disproportionate. We’re going to reduce it without causing discomfort. The objective is to greatly increase the space for animals, with the so-called inverse enclosure”, said Bruno Marques, president of Grupo Cataratas.

According to him, there will be no significant increase in animals. In addition to the almost 1,200 that already exist, zebras and giraffes and, in the future, rhinoceros should be added to the zoo. The entire project must be completed by the end of next year, says Bruno Marques:

“Our intention is to do the project in three phases. We should already open the first phase in the first quarter of next year, a second in the middle of the year and the last one by the end of the year.”

During the renovation, the zoo will be partially open, from Friday to Sunday and also from 10am to 5pm, with the closing of the ticket office at 4pm – the new opening hours were adopted about a month ago in preparation of construction. Before, the Zoo was open from Tuesday to Friday. It is expected that, after completion of construction, the zoo will receive 1.3 million visitors per year. Last year, there were 700 thousand visitors.

 

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MORE THAN 100 SPECIES OF BIRDS

In the bird biosphere, the first area will be the visitors’ walk in the future, a large nursery of approximately 3,000 square meters. More than 100 species will be divided into three biomes: Atlantic Forest, Pantanal and Parrots. There will also be the option of a canopy circuit. The sensation will be of an immersion in a large rainforest, says the concessionaire responsible for its management.

During the visit, the biosphere for reptiles and insects will be the second stop. These environments will be made of vegetation, with turtles, snakes and alligators. The biosphere for felines and canines promises to enclose the visitor. Tigers, lions, jaguars and wolves will be observed through glass tunnels. The area will be over 7,000 square meters.

One of the bets of the new park will be the elephant biosphere. Access to the area, where the largest land animals will be, will be through gazebos, tunnels and acrylic aquariums. The space will have waterfalls and walkways with a 360 degree view for the public. Beyond elephants, bears and marine animals will have lakes and transparent tanks. The concessionaire also promises an aquatic ballet of penguins.

“It will be one of our greatest attractions. Inside, we will make a deep acrylic pool so the audience can see how the elephants behave in the water. We will do the same thing with the hippopotamus – said the president of Grupo Cataratas.

Fazendinha will be kept as a place for the education of children so they can have close contact with animals. This is where the little ones will learn, for example, where the milk and eggs come from that are part of their food.

Grupo Cataratas has been in charge of the management of the zoo since 2016. The company is responsible for the management of visitation at Iguaçu National Park. Throughout the 35-year concession contract, the concessionaire says it will invest $34.7 million in the construction of the site (including the $17.3 million in this reform). The estimate is that, over the contract period, the city will receive a return of $347 million, considering the payment of taxes, investment in city patrimony, the generation of jobs and reduction of the city’s expenses. Just between 2017 and 2030, the direct return to the city should be $41.9 million.

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VISITORS RECEIVED TOUR PASS

Two visitors in love with the Rio Zoo received an unlimited one-year visitation pass from the current administration. Actor André Sebastião Santos, 29, who owns a blog about the park since 2009, was one of the chosen ones.

“I created the blog because the zoo’s old site was very outdated, with little information about the animals. So I decided to create the blog to update it. I’ve lost count of how many times I visited the zoo. I think the zoo will look really pretty,” says André.

Leandro Henrique Simões, 10, has also lost count of how many times he has visited. The answer is “many,” since the first time he was on the spot was when he was still a year old, and since then, Leandro has celebrated his birthday there. With the reform, he hopes to see the giraffe and penguins again:

“I like Simba (the lion) better, but I miss the giraffe and the penguins.” I’m very excited. I want to do the boat trip (in the Savana area).

RIO’S ZOO IS THE OLDEST OF THE COUNTRY

The Zoo of Rio de Janeiro is the oldest in Brazil, at 78 years old. The area is located in the Quinta da Boa Vista Park, former residence of the Portuguese imperial family. The city obtained the space on March 18, 1945. One of the most striking images of its construction was the imposing gate built at its entrance, which can be seen in the landscape of some paintings from the imperial period. The gate was offered by an English nobleman as a wedding gift to Dom Pedro I and the future Empress Leopoldina.

Despite being the oldest that’s still active, the current zoo was not the first in the country. The activity of showing animals and trying to bring a bit of wildlife into the city began on January 16, 1888, when the Baron do Drummond founded the first Brazilian zoo in Vila Isabel, with an area of streams, artificial lakes and an extensive collection of animals.

Over the years, however, it created financial difficulties. The maintenance of the animals became difficult and to solve the problem, Baron do Drummond created the “jogo do bicho“, attracting the attention of visitors, residents of the neighborhood and, later, of the whole city, who placed their bets in the morning and checked the results in the afternoon.

The Baron of Drumond’s initiative, however, was not enough to save the ancient zoo, which ended by closing its doors in the 1940s. – Source (PT)

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Note: That Brazil’s first zoo was built in Rio in the late 1880s is debateable, although in the 1640s, Recife’s Palácio de Friburgo was technically under Dutch rule at the time.

Esqueleto Tourist Hotel

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In 1953, work began on the construction of Gavea Tourist Hotel. The idea, designed by architect Décio da Silva Pacheco, was to make a luxury establishment targeting high-earning clientele. The location encompasses about 30,000 square meters, which was to include a restaurant, a private forest and even an aerial tram. Although unfinished, the space was opened for some events: in 1965, there was a large New Year’s Eve celebration with 1,000 guests, and a night club called Sky Terrace was open for a while on the property grounds. From the 60s onward, the setting has been the backdrop for films, model shoots as well as highly frequented by curious travelers over the last decade, including for sports.

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However, in March 1972, the construction of the Hotel was interrupted by developer California Investments, which would take over the project. Five years later, the company filed for bankruptcy and work stopped altogether (and gone with it, the money from 11,000 people who bought shares in the company in exchange for free stays at the hotel). In 2011 it was sold to a group of investors for R$29 million and the building was closed in preparation for technical inspections and future construction, but there were problems with permits and the project didn’t go ahead.

As mentioned, that doesn’t stop people from going there, though. In part, thanks to Globo’s article (PT) in 2016 about the location becoming a tourist spot, there have been many reports (even up to August 2017) of guards posted there and the location being effectively closed. – Sources 1 (PT), 2 (PT) and 3 (PT)

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Rio’s Messy Growth

The messy growth and limited transport links have caused problems that still exist today

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Santa Bárbara Tunnel. The controversial construction was the cause of complaints from residents and killed 18 workers

A public demonstration took over downtown. About five thousand people faced the police, broke posts, and flipped over vehicles. There were records of three deaths, but violence left other victims: countless donkeys stabbed. There was enough even for the animals, the tram-pullers that cut through the city. All this was motivated by the 20 cent increase (vintém) in the fare, a measure that, today, could be equated with the R$0.20 readjustment for buses that also drove a crowd to the streets in 2013. Workers, stimulated by growing opposition to the emperor Dom Pedro II, made the first protest against the transport structure of the city in Rio in 1880, more than 20 years before the Vaccine Revolt (1904).

“At the time, transportation occurred by trams pulled by donkeys. The lower classes and republican opposition rebelled against the monarchy, recalls historian Carlos Addor of the Fluminense Federal University.

The residents of the then-capital of the Empire didn’t know, but their grandchildren and great-grandchildren would grow up facing similar problems. Expensive fares would influence the proliferation of favelas, and the road network grew disorderly, without providing integration between modes of transport. European cities took more than a century to leave behind their rural profile, but Rio took just over 40 years to take on an urban status.

This accelerated pace, coupled with a lack of planning – two large urban projects developed in the last century didn’t leave the planning stage – and localized development aimed at the upper classes, made Rio the uneven metropolis we now know, according to historians, geographers, journalists and writers.

“The entire urbanization process in Rio was done to the exclusion of second-class citizens, says journalist and writer Zuenir Ventura, who in 1994 addressed the roots of this logic in the book “Cidade Partida.”

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Avenida Central. During urban reforms under Pereira Passos, with the intention of turning it into a true Parisian boulevard.

The Center of Everything

At the time of the so-called Vintém Revolt (mentioned at the top), Rio was a city that existed in function of the downtown region. “Suburb” was a word used for the wealthy, and defined neighborhoods such as Glória, Catete and Laranjeiras, still fairly unoccupied and very wooded. This bucolic setting is depicted in Machado de Assis’s “Dom Casmurro”: the protagonist couple, Bentinho and Capitu, lived in Glória, from where one could see the sea through the window, at a time when the Aterro did not exist. Flamengo Beach, with clear waters, was lit up like Copacabana in the first half of the 20th century, but without swimsuits on parade through the sands.

Urban Rio, however, was downtown. In the early 1900s, a quarter of the city lived in slums. At the time, the city took in many poor people: a large number of ex-slaves came here, people who worked in the coffee plantations of the interior. With poor hygiene and housing conditions, these buildings began to be protested – including the folkloric Cabeça de Porco, whose owner lived in Gávea, which was already a noble area of Rio.

To “sanitize” the capital and make it a metropolis like Paris, Mayor Pereira Passos made a series of urban interventions during his term from 1903 to 1906. He demolished about 1,700 buildings to open and widen streets, and practically rebuilt Avenida Central, currently Rio Branco.

“Rio is a city that was founded to expel French invaders and who, at some point, decided that it had to be like France” – mocks historian and Globo columnist Luiz Antônio Simas.

The “sweep” ended with community housing, and the lower classes had to look for other places to live. At the time, says historian Milton Teixeira, it was believed that bad smells transmitted diseases:

“The poor, who could not shower every day or buy French perfumes, were seen as sources of infection.”

Those who could not afford a ride went up the hill. Those who had somewhat better financial conditions were pushed into the new suburbs, now with negative connotations. They were neighborhoods that followed the route of the railroads, created to transport goods. The trolley, controlled by foreign companies, was a symbol of the separation of the city: there was a car for the middle and upper classes and one for the poor, it was the taioba – on which it was possible to read, on a panel, the specification of who was to use it: “For luggage and those with bare feet”.

The trams that took the Zona Sul route, until the Botanic Garden, had a more expensive price because of the length of the route, which ended up limiting its public. As there was no single route, the meeting between the suburbanites and the residents of the Zona Sul took place downtown.

There were times when social classes were coupled with doses of tension. At religious festivals, for example. In the book “Lucíola”, by José de Alencar, Paul meets his beloved, who he later discovers is a courtesan, while she handed out spare change in the celebrations for Nossa Senhora da Glória, on Rua da Lapa. “All the grotesque types of Brazilian society, from the arrogant nullity to vile flattery, paraded in front of me, brushing silk and cashmere with baize or cotton, mixing delicate perfumes with impure exhalations”, he notes, recently-arrived to the city. Luiz Antônio Simas tells us that the feast for Our Lady of Penha in the 1900s and 1910s attracted the Catholic elite and the poor, who formed samba and capoeira groups. At a time when African culture was criminalized, the police always put the blacks on the run.

In the 1930s, with Getulio Vargas’ Estado Novo government, the opening of roads and urbanization projects in the suburbs gained strength. The electricity-powered trains, boosted the occupation of the North and West zones, and bus lines, began to be created. It was a stepping stone for Rio to take on characteristics of a metropolis.

“In 1940, 70% of the Brazilian population lived in the countryside. In 1980, we had 70% of Brazilians in the city. The result of this is “peripheralization”, a slumification, of urban swelling and immobility – notes Marcus Dezemone, professor of History at UERJ and UFF.

Rio, however, had two urban plans drawn up by foreign experts. The first was signed by Alfred Agache in the late 1920s. He had planned the construction of gardens throughout the city – including the suburbs – and opening roads to connect the periphery to downtown, including three subway lines. The project, however, basically didn’t leave the drawing room.

In the 1930s, the suburb was already housing the lower middle class, including immigrants. According to the historian Leonardo Soares, from UFF, the nucleus of the neighborhoods was established around the train stops. The embryo of the Mercadão de Madureira came about – an initiative of Portuguese and Jewish merchants. A May 1936 issue of “Revista da Semana” featured a report about a huge gypsy camp in the region where Cachambi is today (pg 01 & 02). They said they had left Greece, and revealed plans to go to São Paulo.

The more humble people settled in the hills closer to their workplaces. The slumification had a certain complicity from the elite, who needed cheap labor nearby. According to Milton Teixeira, Rocinha, for example, which became a stronghold of Northeastern migrants, began to concentrate, in the 1930s, workers doing construction in São Conrado and Gávea, including that of the Pontifical Catholic University (PUC). Morro Dona Marta, in Botafogo, which was the first community to receive a Peacekeeping Police Unit in 2008, had its first inhabitants brought there by Father José Maria Natuzzi, then-director of the Santo Inácio College. In favelas without water and sewage, the proliferation of diseases so feared by authorities continued – but beyond the reach of Rio’s public opinion.

“Today, Rio has six thousand cases of tuberculosis per year, which occur mainly in favela areas”, says researcher Jorge Castro, from the National School of Public Health at Fiocruz, for whom the urbanization of Rio de Janeiro meant time was needed to realize the importance of basic care in vulnerable locations, which prevents and reduces the demand for more complex care. “In Europe, this vision emerged after the Second World War.”

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Rebouças Tunnel. Construction of tunnels amplified the connection between the Zonas Norte and Sul.

Still Precarious Sanitation

The Rio of the 1950s was a city of precarious services. In addition to seeing the decay of the trams and the growth of mini buses, Cariocas suffered with a lack of electricity and water. The newspapers brought daily reports on the state of the neighborhoods with dry taps. The supply system of the Rio Guandu was only inaugurated in 1965, by governor Carlos Lacerda. Today, Rio still leaves much to be desired in sanitation: only 47% of the sewage is treated, and the municipality is in 50th place among the 100 cities in the 2016 Sanitation Ranking, done by the NGO Trata Brasil. Historian Leonardo Soares points out that, until the 1980s, many residents of Gardênia Azul, in the Zona Oeste, drew water from a large well.

Between 1950 and 1960, the city underwent a new wave of transformations. The favelas, mainly in the South Zone, became a problem that had to be eradicated, and the solution was to remove its residents and accommodate them in planned and often remote farms and neighborhoods. It was in this logic behind the Vila Kennedy, Cidade Alta, Cidade de Deus and Maré – which, with wooden houses, were to be used as temporary residence for families who had been forced to wait for the construction of definitive real estate. A lot of people just stayed there.

“Some housing developments became problems. They took in people who could not sustain themselves”, says Pedro da Luz, president of the Instituto Arquitetos do Brasil (IAB) in Rio. – The Minha Casa Minha Vida program repeated this formula.

Rio invested in road transport. The mini buses were done with, and regular bus lines appeared. The tram, on the other hand, stopped circulating in 1964, and the trains went through a process of being scrapped. Tunnels were opened between the Zona Norte and Sul, which caused controversy. Santa Bárbara, which connects Catumbi and Laranjeiras, was the object of complaints from residents of the two districts, who didn’t want roads that gave access to the tunnels. Before construction was finished, 18 workers died in an explosion. The tunnel, inaugurated in 1964, would be called another name, but ended up dedicated to the saint because, inside, an altar was built in memory of the dead. Santa Bárbara is considered the patron saint of tunnel builders.

Rebouças, inaugurated in 1967, began to let vehicles through still without being totally ready. From 1976, buses began to circulate through its tunnels – it was at this time that the pejorative expression “além túnel” appeared, addressed to the residents of the Zona Norte who became frequenters of the beaches in Ipanema and Leblon.

The subway only came in 1979, almost 90 years after the first lines in the world. It began by connecting five stations, from Glória to Praça Onze.

“Our subway was one of the few on the planet planned to serve the middle class. This type of transport was launched in London, with the aim of taking the poor from the periphery to work”, says Milton Teixeira.

The city also had a second urban plan, in the 1960s, elaborated by the Greek Constantino Doxiadis. In June 1965, Globo reported that it envisaged the construction of an industrial area in the Zona Oeste, of ten thousand homes for slum dwellers and 7,500 classrooms. Only two of the six designed expressways actually left the planning stage: the Linha Vermelha, inaugurated in 1992, and the Linha Amarela, in 1997.

Unconcern with the environment marked the 20th century. The Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, for example, has had several proposals for total landfilling, as revealed in the book “Lagoa”, organized by architect Augusto Ivan de Freitas Pinheiro and urban planner Eliane Pinheiro. The first was from doctor Oswaldo Cruz, in 1894, who thought that the Lagoa, being a marshy area, was a threat to the health of Cariocas. Agache, in the 1920s, wanted the area to be a place to a leisure. In the following decade, Lúcio Costa defended the construction of a university campus in the location. Rodrigo de Freitas resisted, but others did not have the same luck: Bairro Peixoto, in Copacabana, was erected where there was a large base of water.

Reported in O Globo

The Globo edition of October 4, 1967, printed on the front page news of the fire that destroyed the Praia do Pinto Favela in Lagoa, which was eventually removed in the following years. On the same day, the news about the inauguration of Rebouças – then the largest urban tunnel in the world – emphasized that the route from the Zona Norte to the Lagoon could be done in just five minutes.

PS – It seems the article has no real ending…

Source (PT)

Preserving Carioca landscapes

Carioca landscapes: world heritage to be preserved (in PT)

One of the 14 World Cultural Heritage sites in Brazil is Rio de Janeiro’s landscape. It’s the only item on the list that brings together urbanism and natural beauty. So what do we need to do to preserve this scenery? Here’s a 10-minute talk with architect and city planner Luiz Fernando Janot.


Essentially, it’s hard to think about preservation and UNESCO titles when there’s so much work that needs to be done locally on multiple levels, first.

Rio’s 10 secrets not in guidebooks

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In these times of low spirits – in Rio, even Carnival is under threat – it’s necessary to look for alternatives, to leave behind routine and, instead of only complaining, to find solutions. That was how, thinking of solutions, I remembered the secrets of Rio. Every city has its secret points, places that are almost never on the tourist routes. Landscapes and buildings, old or new, that sometimes not even Cariocas know. Or they’ve heard of them, but have never been there.

I made a list of ten of these secrets, some very well kept, others not so much: there are those that we always pass through without realizing they are there. Others we know by name, but that’s it. They are places with charm, mystery or history. Or with all of these things combined. And landscapes too, which aren’t lacking in Rio. The secrets of Rio are so great that they were worth making a guide about – “Secret Rio” by Manoel de Almeida e Silva, Marcio Roiter and Thomas Jonglez – but I made my own list. And, I repeat, such a list may include places that are right there under our noses, but which we know little or nothing of.


São José Church
Downtown (av. Presidente Antonio Carlos, s/nº)

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This church has a secret. Those who enter its central aisle, especially on weekdays, to appreciate the rococo style interior (c. 1842), realize at once a strange ritual. In the hallway to the right, people are waiting, forming a line. One by one, people go up to the altar – while the others keep waiting – and disappear behind it. A few minutes go by. The person who disappeared reappears on the other side, on the left, and only then does the next one in the line go up to the altar, also to disappear.

What is the secret behind Saint Joseph’s altar? It’s an image of the saint, before whom people will pray. Not just any image: it shows a very old Joseph, dying, surrounded, on his deathbed, by Mary and Jesus. Life-size. It’s impressive. I heard that churches for Saint Joseph, all over the world, have an esoteric symbology, a relationship with the Templars. There are temples dedicated to the saint that carry on the walls the symbols of the zodiac, they assured me. I don’t know if there’s anything magical there. But popular wisdom says that whoever enters the Igreja de São José for the first time must go behind the altar and make a request – and their wish will be answered. It doesn’t cost to try.

Belas Artes Portal
Jardim Botânico (rua Jardim Botânico, 1.008)

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Those who enter the Botanical Garden through the main gate and go to the end the alleyway lines with imperial palms will pass through a lake and end up in a bamboo grove. There, surrounded by greenery, you will find a two-storey building, consisting of an archway on the ground floor and an upper part with columns.

It looks like the facade of a neoclassical palace, but it’s just a portal, the front part of a building that was, like so many, demolished sometime in the past. This is the portal of the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts, designed by the French architect Grandjean de Montigny (1776-1850). Granjean de Montigny, as well as the painter Debret, came to Rio in 1816, as part of the so-called French Mission, a team of professionals that the court of Dom João, newly installed in Rio, sent for in Europe in order to start the teaching of arts and architecture in Brazil.

Ten years later, in 1826, the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts was inaugurated in a building built from the Montigny project. Brazil’s wrath of demolishments reached it in 1938, so that in its place the Ministry of Finance could be built (which ended up somewhere else). It was a miracle that the architect and urbanist Lúcio Costa (1902-1998), who was then the director of the National School of Fine Arts, had the idea of ​​saving at least the portal of the palace, transporting it, stone by stone, for later reconstruction amid the plants of the Botanical Garden.

Royal Portuguese Reading Room
Downtown (rua Luís de Camões, 30)

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See my post

Ladeira da Misericórdia
Downtown (Largo da Misericórdia)

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See my post

Nossa Senhora da Cabeça Chapel
Jardim Botânico (rua Faro, 80)

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This is actually a secret. There are people who live a lifetime in the Botanical Garden and don’t know that it exists. The Nossa Senhora da Cabeça Chapel is hidden at the top part of this little cross street in the neighborhood and you must ask for permission to enter.

The chapel, built in 1603, sits inside the grounds of a school (and convent) of the Carmelite sisters, the Mello Mattos Maternal House, and is one of the oldest buildings in Rio.

According to the book mentioned at the top, the little church was the private chapel of the Engenho de El Rey, a sugar cane mill that belonged to the governor Martim Correia (1575-1632). It was his family who had brought the image of Nossa Senhora da Cabeça, which gave name to the chapel, from Portugal.

The name of the saint originates from Cerro del Cabezo, in Spain, where an image of the Virgin Mary was hidden during the Muslim occupation. In principle, the nuns allow visitation on weekdays, between 9am and 4pm. But there are exceptions. There have been those who got there and weren’t allowed to enter or photograph the chapel from outside. But if it weren’t like this, it wouldn’t be a secret…

European Institute of Design
Urca (av. João Luis Alves, 13)

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See my post (second half)

Bossa Nova Mall
Downtown (av. Almirante Silvio de Noronha, 365)

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The Bossa Nova Mall is the obvious and evident thing of which Nelson Rodrigues spoke: like that story about Otto Lara Resende always passing by Sugarloaf, but never noticing it – because it was too obvious. Facing Sugarloaf, on the other side of Botafogo bay, there is now another obvious and evident thing: the Bossa Nova Mall, which for the moment few people, even among Cariocas, know.

Right beside Santos Dumont airport, this space – I would not call it a mall – comprised of hotels, restaurants, food trucks and several stores, occupies what was formerly the headquarters of Varig.

With the end of the airline, the building was closed for years, until it was entirely reformed (retrofit, with the structure maintained). Now it’s open to everyone. The easy way up to the terrace, where the Hotel Prodigy’s restaurant operates, is worth a visit. The view is indescribable. The Bossa Nova Mall is the kind of place that leads us to the question: how come no one has thought of this before?

Joatinga
Joá (rua Paschoal Segreto)

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Rio has this unique characteristic: to be a city with millions of inhabitants where, in a few minutes, it’s possible to be in the middle of a forest. Or a secret beach – like Joatinga’s. Among the most hidden beaches in Rio, Joatinga is the most, let’s say, affordable.

Just go down a stepladder. Once down there, you have that feeling of vacationing in some remote place. It’s in Joá, in the west zone (between São Conrado and Barra da Tijuca), in a closed condominium. But anyone can enter.

Once inside the condominium, just look for Rua Sargento José da Silva and on it go down the stairs that leads to the beach. Joatinga is small, it’s about 300 meters long, but, as it’s embedded in the rock wall, it gives one an exclusive, even secret, beach feeling, – that’s its charm. There’s only one problem: at certain times of the year, the wall casts a shadow on the sand and, soon, the sun no longer reaches it. What’s more, during a very high tide, the sea swallows the entire strip of sand and the beach disappears. But these vicissitudes only make Joatinga a rarer place.

Catacumba Lookout
Lagoa (Avenida Epitácio Pessoa, 3,000)

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In the 1990s, photographer and psychoanalyst Hugo Denizart (1946 – 2014) took a series of photographs of Catacumba Park, in Lagoa. The photos showed fragments of the recent past, where the Catacomba favela, removed in 1970, had existed. Denizart photographed steps, pieces of cement, remnants of tiles. Testimonies, in his words, of the human life that had existed there.

To this day, climbing the trail that leads to the Sacopã lookout point, you can find these fragments. Some stone steps are still the same ones that had been placed there by the community. Catacumba Park is an ecological reserve, with a beautiful forest (the hillside has been reforested since 1988). It’s also a place for expositions and adventure tourism. But the Sacopã lookout point is still a less sought after place than it should be, although it’s part of the Transcarioca Trail.

The walk is very quiet and can be done in half an hour at most. And the reward up there is total: one of the most beautiful views of Rio, which includes not only the Lagoa but also Pedra da Gávea, Morro Dois Irmãos, Ipanema beach, Corcovado, everything – and from a less traveled angle.

And returning on the way up to the viewpoint: it is curious to imagine that those stones, that tell so many stories, were also trodden more than 50 years ago by a teenager who was always going up the hill, in search of a party or musical partners. A boy who crossed the Lagoa by a little boat to go to Catacumba. His name was Tom Jobim.

Also see my post and this one on its history

Madureira Park
Madureira (Parque Madureira street, s / nº)

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This virtually everyone knows – but usually only by name. Tourists, as well as locals from the Zona Sul, are somewhat lazy to go to the north of the city, which includes Madureira.

Madureira is one of the most traditional and most Carioca neighborhoods in Rio. If it had no other quality, it would already be sensational for its two bonafide samba schools: Portela and Império Serrano (both were champions in the last Carnival, in their respective groups, to the happiness of crowds).

But Madureira has much more. And, five years ago, the neighborhood got a space for leisure and culture called Parque Madureira.

Madureira Park was built on an immense terrain above which electric transmission lines passed. It was public space, but it was invaded, and families had to be removed. With a 2015 expansion, today it’s the third largest park in the city (at 450K sq. meters long), only losing out to Aterro do Flamengo and Quinta da Boa Vista.

In addition to kiosks, picnic lawns, sports courts, bike paths, waterfalls and ponds, the park has one of the most modern skate tracks in Brazil, where parts of the world championship are held. It also houses the Nave de Conhecimento, a public cyber cafe, and a very well-equipped theater, the Fernando Torres Arena. – Source (PT)

The Hermit of Arpoador

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Mr. Pedro Joaquim Lambert, 49 years old, born in Jardim Botânico, the solitary man has been living for close to 5 years in the middle of the rocks on Copacabana. Mr Lambert, as the photo shows, lives alone in this grotto surrounded by objects that serve to maintain his existence; some baskets, fish hooks, a net and his only companion, a little dog. 

One of humanity’s primordial scenes reproduces itself today – a man living in a cave.

Copacabana is where the primitive man appears. In a hidden spot on the penninsula, in which the Nossa Senhora da Copacabana Chapel was erected, Pedro Joaquim Lambert – a  strong, perfect example of a caboclo, somewhere around 45 years old – spends his days calmly fishing.

This creature is a privileged spirit, who never changes, who doesn’t educate himself and faces existence through a rose-colored prism, contemplating nature in the immensity of the seas, enjoying the ocean’s always impressive show, whether at rest or in upheaval.

From rock to rock, jumping, he passes through the vast dominion that no one disputes with him. And, when the night comes, after having contemplated the starry sky mirrored in the calm water of the ocean, he goes to bed on the fine, snowy sand, that extends itself like a carpet under a natural vault of an immense suspended slab, forming the roof of his habitation, in a den where only the murmur of the waves sweetly breaking on the rocks comes!

It’s a perfect grotto, sheltering from bad weather; it is there that for five years, unworried and happy, Lambert lives, after having been discharged from the army, where he served for ten years, in the 39th infantry battalion.

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Lambert is always content; in his retreat there’s everything he needs and for company he only has a small yellow dog. From fishing he gets the resources he needs to maintain himself.

And his biggest pleasure consists, he says, of contemplating the constantly new wonderful things in the immense frame that surrounds him; hearing the delicious concert of the surges that caress him to sleep.

Such is the man that we visited in the pictoresque place in Copacabana, abandoned by those that should take care of those who have served the country, since Lambert fought with courage in Canudos, and chose that retreat to, away from ungrateful men, spend rest of the days that remain to him in this valley.

Revista da Semana
May 28, 1905

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It seems he was actually living in Arpoador. See this image from 1905, where the church mentioned at the start of the article was located. Based on the development of Copacabana in the early 1900s, I would suppose his style of life would have been encroached upon quite soon (that is, within 5-7 years) after this article came out. Another thing to keep in mind is he was likely at the end of his life, since he had already surpassed Brazil’s general life expectancy around the early part of the 20th century.

See also: The Hermit of Grumari

The Carioca hinterlands

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A resident of Jacarepaguá, Magalhães Corrêa wanted to call attention to the problems of the sertão, and show it wasn’t just some far away place in Brazil’s northeast.


Rio de Janeiro, 1930. Capital of Brazil. Getúlio Vargas, having recently came to power after the coup, reflects and nurtures the nationalist spirit that dominates the country. While the capital thrives with political, structural and social transformations, not far from there life is quiet, limited to a few inhabitants who live with luxuriant fauna and flora. It’s the Sertão Carioca, in the words of the illustrator and self-taught naturalist Armando Magalhães Corrêa, conservator of the National Museum.

While roaming through this sertao – where, after numerous walks, he bought a small farm – Magalhães Corrêa wrote chronicles and composed beautiful illustrations with the tip of a feather. These were published between 1932 and 1933 in the newspaper Correio da Manhã. In 1936, after encouragement from newspaper editor, Ricardo Palma, and intellectual Roquette Pinto, the Imprensa Nacional gathered all the material in a book titled O Sertão Carioca. Although acclaimed at the time, Magalhães Corrêa did not come to be considered an important author, but from the 1990s he began to be object of academic articles. Still, the book is valued more for its details than its style. In one of the prefaces, Roquette Pinto himself states: “The picturesque with which the artist knew how to describe the different and individualized professional types of the Sertão Carioca, makes us forgive the sloppiness of the style.”

Today [2015], almost eighty years later, the Biblioteca Nacional is working on the reissue of the book as part of Rio’s 450th anniversary. It is currently waiting for funding from the Rio de Janeiro Research Foundation (Faperj). If it is published, the work will certainly be sold at prices lower than those practiced by the used bookstores on Estante Virtual, who charge between R$150 and R$300 for a copy [1].

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With descriptions of characters, places and trades that were erased from Jacarepaguá, Barra and Recreio, the “Sertão Carioca” of the 1930s today seems incongruous amid the construction sites and condominiums that occupy the region. After all, it was the West Zone’s very isolated character that attracted its first residents and enterprises. These now culminate in the housing boom and boost in construction, among other factors, for the 2016 Olympics.

What’s still seen a suburb by part of the city’s elite – still the same as in 1936 – has become its center: the Olympic Park, when completed, will be at the heart of Sertão Carioca. Although, in a way, the words of Ricardo Palma, publisher of the Diário Carioca, in the preface of the book are valid:

“Yes, even though Cariocas from the Avenida, from Posto 4, from the chic tea parties and cinemas are amazed, there is a “sertão” in this wonderful land, like in the Amazon, Matto Grosso, Goyaz, Minas, Bahia. Although less wild …”

It’s this “tame” (ex) sertão – in the words of anthropologist Candice Vidal, from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais – that we will pass through on this trip through old Rio. We will visit some places mentioned by Magalhães Corrêa in search of vestiges of the Sertanejos that lived there and of the names that today resound like lost places – restinga de Itapeba, ilha do Marinho, represa dos Ciganos —; trades supplanted by ‘progress’ – clog-makers, weavers, ax-makers, wire-makers, potters, fertilizer-makers; And  now-obsolete artifacts – tipiti, biquilha, leira, alforge, bitola. If to us they sound almost foreign, these words were also not well known by readers in the 1930s: no wonder Magalhães Corrêa inserted a “Vocabulary employed and spoken in the backwoods of Rio” at the end of the book, which contains about five hundred terms.

The article continues with several ‘then vs now’ examples. Source (PT)

The Etymology of Rio

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Below, I went through the etymology of many names that will be familiar to those that know Rio de Janeiro. You’ll find that, where possible, they adhere to the format below and, in some cases, they include other details. The list below is not all-inclusive.

Current: Portuguese (English)
Original: Portuguese (English)


Neighborhoods

Arpoador (Harpooner)
unknown/none

Note: It was once a place for harpooning whales

Bangu (Black Shield, Big darkened wall)
unknown/part of Campo Grande

Note: The Tupi word bangu’u likely references the shadow of the Pedra Branca Massif. Another possible origin is the African term banguê, a place on the sugarcane mill where slaves stored bagasse, for feeding the cows. The latter term then began to be used to describe a primative transportation device, like a stretcher, for sugarcane and construction material

Copacabana (Luminous place / Blue Beach, View of the Lake)
Sacopenapã (Path of tiger herons)

Note: Current name is perhaps Quechuan, or of Bolivian indigenous origin. Original name is the same as the Lagoon, related to old parish delimitations) [1]

Flamengo (Flemish)
Uruçumirim (Small Bee)

Note: Current name either due to Dutch invasion, Dutch prisoners, or sightings of flamingos. Also called Aguada dos Marinheiros (Sailor’s fresh water supply), and Praia do Sapateiro (Cobbler Beach) in the interim

Humaitá (Black Stone)
Praia da Piaçava (Piassava Beach)

Ilha do Governador (Governor’s Island)
Ilha de Paranapuã / Ilha dos Maracajás (Seaside Hill Island / Margay Island)

Note: It was a sesmaria and sugar mill owned by Rio’s first governor, Salvador Correia de Sá

Ipanema (Bad Water)

Note: The name also references the second Baron of Ipanema, from inland São Paulo, who invested his capital from a metal processing plant into what would become Rio’s Ipanema

Madureira (from tentant and cattle drover Lourenço Madureira)

Penha (either from Our Lady of Peñafrancia or from the word for cliff) [2]

Recreio dos Bandeirantes (Fortune-hunters Playground)

Note: The company which originally sold lots of land there had the same name

Tijuca (Rotten Water)

Note: Tijuca got its name because it was on the way to Tijuca Lagoon, in Barra da Tijuca


Favelas

Cidade de Deus (City of God)

Note: Dom Hélder Câmara, a Roman Catholic Archbishop, suggested the name to Carlos Lacerda, then-governor of the state of then-Guanabara. The housing complex was actually supposed to be inhabited by government employees, but due to 1966 floods, residents of favelas in the Zona Sul were moved there instead [3]

Complexo do Alemão (German’s Complex)
Unknown/part of the parish of Inhaúma (Black Bird, ie Horned screamer)

Note: The “German” in this case, was actually a Polish immigrant, WWI refugee and land owner. Before it was a Complex, it was simply known as Morro do Alemão (German’s Hill)

Complexo do Maré (Tide Complex)
Comunidade Morro do Timbau (Timbau Hill Community)

Note: The name Maré is due to the swampy area there and the tide that would eventually come in, which gave way to the construction of stilt houses

Morro da Mangueira (Mangueira Hill)

Note: The Mangueira Hat Factory was located on a street at one of the entrances to the favela. The factory “lent” its name to another favela, in Leme, called Chapéu-Mangueira

Morro da Providência (Providence Hill) [4]
Favela (Weed)

Note: It took on the current name in the 1940s with the installation of the Divina Providência chapel there

Morro do Salgueiro (Salgueiro Hill)

Note: Portuguese immigrant Domingos Alves Salgueiro had 30 shacks in the favela and became a point of reference for those going there

Rocinha (small farm) [5]

Santa Marta / Dona Marta (Saint Martha / Lady Martha)

Note: Priest Clemente Martins de Matos bought lands in current-day Botafogo and denominated the hill with his mother’s name

Vidigal (named after Major Vidigal) [6]


Other

Corcovado (Hunchbacked)
Pináculo / Pico da Tentação (Pinnacle / Temptation Peak)

Note: The original name references the Mount of Temptation, showing that religious connotations existed there prior to the Christ statue

Cristo o Redentor (Christ the Redeemer)
Mirante do Chapéu do Sol (Sun Hat Viewpoint) [7]

Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas (Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon) [8]
Piraguá or Praguá / Sacopenapã / Capôpenypau (Fish Cove / Path of tiger herons / Lagoon of shallow roots)

Note: Also called Lagoa de Amorim Soares / do Fagundes (due to other owners), in the interim

Maracanã (parrot)

Pedra da Gávea (Topsail Rock)
Metaracanga (Decorated/Crowned head)

Keeping pollution at bay

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We always get excited about the aerial view of Guanabara Bay. Every time we return to Rio de Janeiro through Santos Dumont Airport, we are amazed by its beauty and size. The harmonious design of the mountains makes Guanabara Bay the essence of the most beautiful postcard in the city.

Seen from above, the Bay is one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. That is why the two main tourist attractions in Rio de Janeiro, Corcovado and Sugarloaf, together receive more than 3 million visitors every year. The main reason for this movement of people is the view, which includes – of course – Guanabara Bay.

Even so, those that govern the state and the city of Rio de Janeiro were not educated on the vital importance of decontaminating the bay. And worse, they wasted the moment before the Olympics to do that work. To imagine the dimension of pollutants, such as the oil from large vessels that are launched daily in Guanabara Bay, just look at the surrounding areas.

Guanabara Bay is home to the second largest industrial region, the second largest port in Brazil, two airports, two refineries, naval services, shipyards and an intense movement of land and sea transportation. “The Bay offers a world of services without there being a single fee that is reverted to its care,” says David Zee, an oceanographer at the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ). “Nature is doing slave labor.”

Its hydrographic basin of almost 4 thousand km squared reaches areas of 15 municipalities – Rio de Janeiro, Duque de Caxias, São Gonçalo, Magé, Guapimirim, Itaboraí, Tanguá, Niterói, Nova Iguaçu, Cachoeiras de Macacu, Rio Bonito, São João de Meriti, Mosque, Nilopolis and even a small part of Petropolis. With so many actors involved, articulating common policies, such as basic sanitation itself, is a huge dilemma.

Lack of articulation, projects impossible to execute and difficulties in taking responsibility made the proposal to cleanse the Bay an entanglement of difficulties and procrastination. The biggest problem pointed out by oceanographer David Zee bumps up against a delicate issue, the favelas. The occupation of the coastal zone in a disorderly and irregular way degrades the banks of the Bay, increases the violence in the region and makes sanitation projects even more difficult.

“It is not possible to think of the decontamination of Guanabara Bay by means of basic sanitation when half of the population that throws sewage in the bay is in favelas and not in formal cities,” says Zee. “If it is already difficult to carry out this work in a normal situation, it’s almost impossible in militia-controlled locations.”

For Zee, the way out would be to place treatment units in the rivers [1] that empty into the bay, bringing with them tons of garbage. “But there’s another problem: who’s going to take on the job?” [2]

But the bay’s health has not always been so critical. In 1818, the French naturalist Joseph Paul Gaimard, who was dedicated to the discovery of new species in Rio de Janeiro, confessed to his friends that he did not like to sail through the waters of Guanabara Bay. Not because of the trash, inexistant at the time. The naturalist feared something greater! The movement of whales that swam in the region was so intense that he feared that cetaceans could sink his boat. And, until the 1950s, it was still possible to spot some whales in the bay. [3]

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Today, the only marine mammal that inhabits the waters of Guanabara Bay is the Guiana dolphin (Sotalia guianensis) [4], and even so, in very small numbers. In 1985, researchers noted the presence of about 400 individuals inhabiting the bay. Today, this group would be no more than 34. The latest victim, known to researchers as Acerola, was found dead by Comlurb officials on June 15, 2016. At UERJ, which maintains the Laboratory of Aquatic Mammals and Bioindicators (MAQUA), Professor Izabel Gurgel nicknamed this group, which declines annually in size, as the “heroes of resistance.”

According to Maqua researchers, the boto (river dolphin) happens to live in the same place where it is born. The researchers identified that the boto uses an echolocation strategy that allows the animal to detect objects that are at sea. The ability to recognize locations and detect danger allows the species to continue to exist in impacted environments. In this way, porpoises can choose a less polluted place to survive. This is the case of the dolphins that live in the 20 km squared area of the Guanabara Ecological Station, which, next to the APA Guapimirim, is one of the few places where fishing nets are not allowed and there are few humans.

Maqua researchers also identified the death of green turtles in Guanabara Bay. Garbage, chemical pollution and trampling by boats are the main causes of the disappearance of the turtles that dare to venture through the waters of Rio de Janeiro. The species is also considered to be endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Measuring up to 1 meter in length and weighing almost 200 kilos, the green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) come from afar. They come from oceanic islands like Fernando de Noronha, Pernambuco, Trindade, Espirito Santo, Atol das Rocas, Rio Grande do Norte, and even some Brazilian coastal regions. Guanabara Bay is part of the migration route and a potential safe harbor for juvenile turtles during their growth and reproduction. – Source (PT)


Notes:

1 – My post on the history of the Carioca River

2 – Up until the mid-1800s, slaves known as tigres – due to the stripes made from waste spilling onto their backs – would carry buckets of sewage to dump into the sea.

3 – An aside: The etymology of Arpoador means “harpoon-thrower”, from arpoar (to harpoon), as the rocky outcropping was originally a place where whales were killed.

4 – The Guiana dolphin, or boto-cinza, is a symbol of Rio, depicted on its flag for the last 120 years. Baby Acerola was found in pieces, showing signs of being caught in a fishing net. Researchers suspect it was done by someone not native to the region, since local fishermen know the species is endangered and thus killing one is a crime.