Expedition Begins Amid Drought in São Paulo
En route to my expedition to study the impact of introduced species the seabirds of Fernando de Noronha in the Atlantic Ocean off the north-east coast of Brazil, I’ve arrived in São Paulo after 16 hours of flights from New Zealand, and I’m keen for a shower. A little bit unfortunately for me, but much more so for the rest of São Paulo, the city is falling in to the grip of its worst drought since 1930, when records began. If rainfall doesn’t come soon, city officials speak of moving to water rations for five-days-off two-days-on.
As we drive to my hotel along the dry canals of the Tietê River bisecting São Paulo I see a lone pair of capybara munching on dry vegetation beside the traffic. My host Ricardo from the University of São Paulo veterinary school tells me most of the formally abundant capybara have now moved outside of the central canal to the more vegetated exteriors. With the major reservoir at less than five percent of its trillion-liter capacity I’m not sure the capybara will have any better pickings outside of town either.