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  • Writer's pictureLeonardo Merçon

"I've got my eye on you!"


This is a young Rufescent Tiger-Heron (Tigrisoma lineatum), still with its full painted plumage, illuminated by the morning sun. I took the photo while monitoring the lagoon of the Sooretama Biological Reserve by boat. Every minute we found fantastic animals, and this Rufescent Tiger-Heron posed for my lens in the best light. The magic hour!

Although it may seem like a common bird to some people, this animal plays a vital role in the ecosystem in which it lives. The Rufescent Tiger-Heron is an aquatic bird that mainly inhabits wetlands, such as lakes, rivers, and mangroves, where it feeds on fish, crustaceans, and other small animals.

By feeding on fish and other aquatic animals, it helps maintain balance in the region's food chain, avoiding the overpopulation of some species and ensuring the survival of others.

In addition, the Rufescent Tiger-Heron is also an indicator of environmental health since its presence or absence in an area can indicate the water and ecosystem's overall quality.

Unfortunately, many species of water birds, including the Rufescent Tiger-Heron, are threatened due to habitat loss, pollution, and other human activities.

Each animal has a fundamental role in maintaining ecological balance, and preserving these species is crucial for the survival of all fauna and flora on the planet. Therefore, when admiring the beauty of this young Rufescent Tiger-Heron, do not forget its ecological importance and the role each of us can play in nature conservation.

Let's unite for the conservation of biodiversity and ensure that this and other species can continue to enrich and balance our ecosystems for many generations.

*The image title was suggested by @ianerler through my Instagram. If you haven't checked it out yet, click HERE.


Leonardo Merçon is from Espírito Santo, and for almost 20 years, he has been a nature photographer / documentarist focused on nature protection. He graduated as a graphic designer from the Federal University of Espírito Santo and studied photography for publications at the Academy of Media and Arts in Germany, with a full scholarship from DAAD, and is currently pursuing a professional master's degree in Biodiversity Conservation at IPÊ/ESCAS. He is the founder/volunteer director of the Last Refuges Institute (a non-profit environmental NGO). He has dozens of printed books and video documentaries published. He works on projects that help to tell stories through images in national and international media, such as the BBC in London and National Geographic Brazil, among others. In 2015, he was a speaker at TEDx TALK in Vitória-ES. He believes and works on environmental awareness activities (especially with children) and the promotion of nature-related tourism as a way to inspire people and promote change.

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