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Wildlife corridor for Colombia’s endangered cotton-topped tamarins

Cotton-topped tamarins threatened by hunting and habitat loss

Primates come in all shapes and sizes. One of the smallest families of primates consists of the tamarins and marmosets that live in the forests of South America. These agile creatures are pretty social, living in small, communal breeding groups made of several males and females. Only one female within the group tends to breed, and, uniquely for primates, most commonly gives birth to twins. They’re able to do this because the males help out much more than in other primate species.

Cotton-topped tamarins live in a small area of Colombia. Sadly, they are now critically endangered. This is because there are fewer than 6,000 individuals left in the wild. One reason for their fragile state is that almost 40,000 were captured for used in biomedical research. Thankfully a ban was put in place in 1976. But now the tiny corner of Colombia they call home is threatened by large scale habitat destruction, and the tamarins are targeted through hunting and for the pet trade.

Wildlife corridors for Colombia’s endangered cotton-topped tamarins

Wildlife corridor to boost numbers

PTES is providing funds for Fabio Cuello Mercado and his team at the Fuverde Foundation to work with the region’s indigenous Arahuac people to protect these vulnerable creatures. They will work in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, in the Arahuac indigenous territory, and strengthen the conservation capacities of the indigenous community. The aim is to establish a 32km² protected ecological corridor for the tamarins and other wildlife through an administrative resolution from the Arahuac community.

Previous conflict in the region between government forces and paramilitary groups over the past 50 years prevented environmental protection and community support. Now, since 2016, peace has been established and urgent conservation work can proceed. The corridor will expand the globally significant Sierra Nevada de Santa National Park and the project will strengthen community engagement with wildlife and greatly benefit the tamarins.

Wildlife corridors for Colombia’s endangered cotton-topped tamarins

Cotton-topped tamarins can live for 24 years in the wild; with your help we can provide a safer future them and generations to come.

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