Click to read: All three pillars of Durrell work together to help save the Endangered white-footed tamarin

All three pillars of Durrell work together to help save the Endangered white-footed tamarin

This Saturday Colombian vet Juliana Peña-Stadlin will return to the field having spent two weeks at the Jersey headquarters of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. Juliana received a generous scholarship from Schroders (C.I.) Limited attend Durrell’s world renowned International Training Centre and take part in the five-day ‘Primate Husbandry Course’ and learn more about caring for the Endangered white-footed tamarin Saguinus leucopus, which lives only in Colombia. She returns to South America armed with increased knowledge and a variety of new skills learned from hands-on experience gained whilst working with Durrell’s team of highly experienced vets and animal keepers.

This project is testament to how Durrell’s three core conservation pillars work together to make a real impact in their mission to save species from extinction.

Accompanying Juliana on her return journey will be Dominic Wormell, Head of Durrell’s Mammal Department. Dominic will spend a fortnight in Colombia during which time he will initially follow the animals in the field, hoping to locate some of the last remaining white-footed tamarins. The remainder of his time will be spent sharing his extensive knowledge of these diminutive primates, running a number of workshops and visiting some of the institutions that hold the species in captivity.

Commenting on her time spent at Durrell Juliana said “I am really pleased to have had the opportunity to visit Durrell’s headquarters in Jersey and to have taken part in the Primate Husbandry Course, which I found extremely useful and informative. Not only have I learned so much from the theory side of the course, but also the practical time spent with the vets here has been invaluable. I feel as though I am now in a much stronger position to care for the tamarins and to share what I have learned with my colleagues. I will also be implementing a series of new protocols with regard to the health aspects and husbandry issues of these animals in the various institutions with whom we work.”

Durrell is extremely grateful to Julian Winser, CEO of Schroders (C.I.) Limited, for their generous support of Juliana, and for assisting Durrell in this important capacity-building work to help protect Colombia’s biodiversity.

Dominic added “We are delighted with the work conducted in Colombia and the major improvements we have seen to date. Many of these improvements stem from our specialized knowledge of these animals and our ability to develop skills here in Jersey and then pass them on to people working on the front line, such as Juliana.”

The “White-footed Tamarin International Conservation Project’ was started by Colombian conservationists, several of whom have trained at Durrell, and is a collaborative effort with the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA). Durrell is a lead partner on the project, which has a multi-pronged approach, building the skills and capacity to have a safety population of the tiny mammals in Colombia, plus carrying out field work to survey the last patches of forest that the tamarin occurs in.

To date Durrell and its partners have trained well over 60 Colombians during the workshops and have built over 20 enclosures in various institutions. In doing so great successes have been achieved. Captive mortality rates have reduced from 90% to 20% and in addition the teams are delighted to now have a number of mother-reared offspring, something which was practically unheard of prior to the commencement of this project.

Posted 13 October 2011

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