About Juliana

Bio

I am a Biologist currently working on getting my PhD in Genetics (defense in first two weeks of August, 2012) at the University of Sao Paulo. My main interests are the fight against illegal wildlife trade and the application of forensic science to wildlife related crimes. I have been working as a volunteer biologist for the ngo SOS FAUNA since 2007 learning about the illegal wildlife trade in Brazil. In February 2012 I launched FREELAND Brasil, an independent arm of FREELAND Foundation (www.freeland.org), and its mission will be to fight wildlife trafficking through the incubation of initiatives with the same mission - such as the Brazilian Independent Wildlife Forensic Genetics Laboratory - my main career goal, the development of research projects, educational material, courses and workshops, the establishment of partnerships between law enforcement, environmental and customs agencies, non-profit organizations, politicians and other sectors from society. Through FREELAND Brasil my colleagues and I will be able to develop projects intended to understand more about wildlife trafficking in Brazil and south america, raise relevant information and promote education and awareness efforts. Wildlife trafficking in Brazil assumes many forms: biopiracy, the trade to supply zoos and collectors, the trade of religious and luck charms and souvenirs, the timber trade and the pet trade. I have been working more closely with the illegal pet trade, which targets small mammals, reptiles, amphibians and mainly song birds, parrots and macaws. Not only I have learned about the trade itself and issues related to the rehabilitation and responsible release of the seized fauna, but I joined the police in investigations, on the ground raids and seizures, and I did research field work in the regions where the animals are collected to develop an in-depth understanding of this problem. In these field work trips I got in contact with isolated rural communities, usually the first ones to take the animals from nature. There is a severe lack of education, health facilities, stable sources of income, and overall social inclusion programs. Wildlife trafficking is not a crime described in the Brazilian law, so no one can be prosecuted for this crime. They are prosecuted for transporting and owning animals without permits, which are only misdemeanors. This means that wildlife trafficking is highly profitable, with the ever growing demand for wild pets, and very little is at stake if the dealers are caught by the police.
I am currently working on 4 main projects:
1. the PhD and population genetics studies intended to understand where animals are being taken from, both to help with prevention and to help guide releasing efforts;
2. the releasing of a group of 62 blue-fronted amazons being rehabilitated at SOS Fauna since 2006;
3. returning over 1800 peruvian canaries seized in Brazil to Peru, where they are an endemic subspecies. They are currently under the care of SOS Fauna;
4. the setting up of a small independent not for profit wildlife forensics laboratory in Brazil

Languages

English, Portuguese

TED Conferences

TED Fellows Retreat 2013, TEDGlobal 2012, TED2012, TEDGlobal 2011, TED2011, TED2010, TED2009

Areas of Expertise

Conservation Genetics, Wildlife Forensic Genetics, Illegal Wildlife Trade

An idea worth spreading

We must spread the need for the development of Wildlife Forensics, so that we can have scientific data as evidence to be used in legal processes. Crimes against wildlife are nowadays comparable to illegal drug and gun trade, and we are far from winning this fight. A Wildlife Forensics Lab in a mega diverse and mega exploited country such as Brazil would give the legal system tools to make legal decisions based on scientific evidence, what would help the full prossecution of such cases, making wildlife trafficking more difficult and certainly less profitable.

I'm passionate about

Wildlife, Forensics, Science, DeRose Method, Swimming, good music and books, true friends, stray dogs, animals, the sea...

Talk to me about

Science, Wildlife, Sports, whatever you would like to!

People don't know I'm good at

swimming, making "brigadeiro, teaching, kicking doors down

My TED story

My TED story couldn't have began in a better way: I attended the 2009 conference at Long Beach and gave a talk at TED University! I also had the honor of being selected as one of the 2010-2012 TED senior fellows. And on TED 2010 I also gave a TEDU talk which made it to TED.com. The repercussion was instant. Having a talk on TED.com spread the problem of illegal wildlife trade in Brazil and the issue of what to do with the seized animals. I know that these are the high points of my professional life until today. Also, being at TED and Interacting with so many people amazing people,who are so accomplished and are still wanting to accomplish gave me even more hope and energy to keep on with my project of saving the world (!). The TED experience was a unique and special experience which I will always treasure and cherish.

Favorite talks

Comments & conversations

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Juliana Machado Ferreira
Posted about 1 year ago
Will the Belo Monte Dam project on the Amazon River cause more harm to the environment or will it be a good source of energy for Brazil?
Continuing: Two comments that didn´t fit in the previous post: Belo Monte was estimated to custo approx 8 billion dollars and it is now at 14 billion dollars. It is a money machine and prices charged higher than market prices are just going down corruption drains. Laslty, concerning the cost of renewable energies: I recently read somewhere that the only reason why oil based energy sources are so competitive is because they are heavily subsidized. If reweable sources received the smae kind of incentives, they would probably be very competitive as well.
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Juliana Machado Ferreira
Posted about 1 year ago
Will the Belo Monte Dam project on the Amazon River cause more harm to the environment or will it be a good source of energy for Brazil?
Hello all, I think many great points were covered in this conversation so I am not going to repeat arguments. But I do think there are some crucial things we have to think about here. First, Brazil has been playing a dangerous game of doing one thing and then manipulating numbers to seem like a different thing. Our gov claims that inflation is under control when we know it is not, but they manipulate number to look that way (Financial Times has an article on this). The same happens to the environment; Gov swears that impacts of Belo Monte are minor both to biodiversity and to indigenous people, while any minimally informed person knows this is a blunt lie. There is a concern to play good guys for the international community while doing the oposite here. So yes, Belo Monte will have a major impact. Another issue is why it is being built there. Of course we need progress and energy, but it is a trade here. Energy for the population and some environmental impact? May be ok. However, in this case, it is not energy for rural communities, it is for minning industries. And not a minor environmental impact, it is huge, and plus the social impact. Do we really want to make this choice? Thirdly, the social impacts are not just the direct ones. The construction itself brought approx 28 thousand workers to an otherwise small town. Just see what happened to Tucurui after they had a hydroeletric powerplant built there. Huge unemployment after construction was over, not enough schools and hospitals, diseases and pregnant teenagers. Also, look at Brazil´s wastes on old transmition lines. Some say it is around 50% of the production. Lastly, let´s just look at who is behind this billion dollar contract. Oddly enough the same companies who fund political campaigns and paid (and have been paying) travels to politicians and much more. This is just an economic game for them. They helped put politicians on power, now they get there share.This is much more than just energy needs.
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Juliana Machado Ferreira
Posted over 1 year ago
Allan Savory: How to fight desertification and reverse climate change
This is an amazing talk. And I absolutely love how honest he was about his previous decisions and mistakes. Conservation Biology is a crisis science, we must take the best decisions promptly, with the information available at the time! This talk left me with two thoughts. I wonder if this kind of management could not be extended even more to wild herds, trying to restore some of Africa's populations of elephants and so forth. Second, I currently live in the amazon. And here, although we have a more humid and a drier season, it is always very humid, as Allan showed in the beginning of the talk. Here we do not have historically big herds of wild animals and here we are undergoing through desertification because the soil is mostly sand and the forest lives on the accumulated dead matter. I wonder if his concept, or somathing similar, could be applied here, as there is a LOT of illegal cattle production, which is currently accelerating desertification. The reason why I wonder this is because we would not be mimicking how nature works here - as I said, the fauna here is entirely different....
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Juliana Machado Ferreira
Posted about 3 years ago
Nina Tandon: Caring for engineered tissue
I wanted to congratulate Nina on her outstanding work. I can say this with confidence because I know her and I know how deep her work and mind are, and I think she did a great job showing the basics in only 4 minutes. If she did something very scientific and obscure, no one would understand. She did what she had to do: showed that this research exists, made it intelligible to everyone and invited the ones who got interested for a longer discussion. Good job Dr Tandon!
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Juliana Machado Ferreira
Posted about 3 years ago
How should we preserve global relevant resources?
Dear All, I quickly went through the thread, but did not read every single comment, so I am sorry if I am repeating something that was already said. There is so much to this issue, environmentally and politically. Of course forests like the amazon should be protected at all costs, as should the oceans, the true "Earth's lungs". But it is meaningless to protect the last few healthy environments in the world, and keep our developing countries still developing countries, only so that north americans, europeans and others (who already destroyed almost all of their natural resources) can keep on having their predatory highly consumptive life style. It is time that, yes, we protect our resources, but they should change their goals in life as well: SUVs, thermoelectric plants, air conditioning on day and night, buying more objects, more clothing, new iphones and ipads every year... This behavior should change as well... As to internalization: in an ideal world, this would be a great idea. In our world, ruled by economic interests, it is just not doable.
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Juliana Machado Ferreira
Posted about 3 years ago
Marcin Jakubowski: Open-sourced blueprints for civilization
I would love to apply the technology you are developing to the rural "settlers" (is this the correct term?) that are granted a piece of land in Brazil, but have no money to invest on their crops... Having this kind of technology and putting together cooperatives could really empower those people and provide them with a stable source of income, hence not depending on governmental aid anymore.
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Juliana Machado Ferreira
Posted over 3 years ago
Sarah Kay: If I should have a daughter ...
Thank you. I agree with you. Art will be "good" or "bad" for me, in relation to the emotions they cause in me. But, even if I am not touched by a piece as I am by other, still I am going to be able to see and recognize its value. So really I was saying, people may not like Sarah's work, but they should recognize it is their subjective taste and not her work being bad...
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Juliana Machado Ferreira
Posted over 3 years ago
Sarah Kay: If I should have a daughter ...
Dear Ernesto, Obrigada for your kind reply. Do try to read more Pessoa, I think you will particularly like Alvaro de Campos heteronym. Very secluded, dark, but yet beautiful. Here is what I cannot agree - 1) poetry should have rigor. Art is about feeling, and poetry is about putting feelings in words. Feelings don't need rigor. It is like saying Rachmaninoff had too much feeling in his music. Rigor has to do with the style and not with the art form itself. When you try to enclose art, you try to enclose feelings, and for me this is a paradox.... 2) poetry should be related to solitude, seclusion and maybe darkness. It can be. Then it will give wings to our deepest most difficult feelings. But what about poetry of love and joy? Are you willing to argue that all the poetry about beauty, love, joy, nature, sex is all crap?
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Juliana Machado Ferreira
Posted over 3 years ago
Eric Berlow: Simplifying complexity
I loved this talk in many ways. First because I have always been terrified about complicated and complex stuff, now I will think twice. Second, I adore his visualization tools, it turns amounts of data into palatable stuff for our brain - but also it is a great tool to show people the very importance of biodiversity and complexity in nature, I work with bird conservation and I often hear from people that taking a few birds from the wild won't matter. Oh yes, depending from where are how many are these "few", it will so matter. And one of the reasons is because there is no food chain. There are ecological nets which are very complex and rely on this very complexity. And third, I loved how he completely changed fields and showed that the same idea could be applied. Way to go Eric, I am not so afraid of complex anymore (but would you analyze my PhD's data for me? Just kidding!!). If only the US (and the rest of the world as well) would hear you and focus on non-violent approaches...
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Juliana Machado Ferreira
Posted over 3 years ago
Sarah Kay: If I should have a daughter ...
Hey Ernesto, you say that good poetry is about seclusion (be patient because I a not a scholar on poetry here) and being a latin language speaker (you said you are latin american), I believe you must know one of Fernando Pessoa's heteronyms - Alberto Caeiro. It is all but about seclusion (or did I get it wrong?) and still, are you going to deny it is class A poetry? Also, I would like you to comment on my comment bellow (if you find and have the time) about what art is good and bad and art being completely related to the emotions and thoughts it causes to each individual.... Cheers.