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The White footed tamarinHelp make a tiny monkey the next 'great icon of conservation'

Colombia's white footed tamarin: Endangered and threatend by habitat loss and poaching, but conservation is improving their survival prospectsOver a decade ago the serious threats facing Colombia’s endemic white footed tamarin were recognised. These diminutive primates have been suffering from severe habitat destruction and poaching for the pet trade. Since 2006, Durrell has trained and helped bring local conservationists and partners together to formulate a plan to save the tamarins, and ten years later, the prospects for the species are greatly improved. Poaching has been reduced, the first reserve for the species has been set up, and a conservation breeding programme has been established.

Today, the focus is on building a network of specialists to coordinate and carry out actions needed for the successful conservation of the tamarins, both in the wild and in Colombia’s now burgeoning captive breeding facilities. With your support, we’ll continue to run vital workshops that expand local expertise, while providing essential training to the next generation of conservationists.

Let’s make the white footed tamarin the next ‘great icon of conservation’!

Please help, donate what you can today.

By Durrell Head of Mammals, Dom Wormell

Colombia is a wonderful country, rich in biodiversity with many wonderful species found nowhere else on Earth.

One such gem is a tiny primate known as the white-footed tamarin, a monkey the size of a squirrel. It inhabits the last remaining forests of the Magdalena valley, which runs from north to south down the middle of the country between the Andean mountain ranges. Unfortunately, this little monkey’s lowland forest habitat is being removed at an alarming rate for agricultural use, mainly for cattle grazing. Added to its woes is the fact that it is being illegally taken from the wild in huge numbers.

Being small and attractive, these tamarins have traditionally been kept as pets, living in small cages with inappropriate space and diet. With the mounting pressure on this species, it was a perfect recipe for extinction.

In 2006, ’The International Conservation Programme for the White-Footed Tamarin’ was launched. Durrell, Zoo de Beauval and the Colombian Association of Zoos & Aquariums (ACOPAZOA) have been working together ever since on all aspects of conservation for this species in the wild and in captivity, as well as education in country. A series of workshops have been the core part of the programme, bringing together all those who work with the species.

There have been some great achievements for the project, made possible by the passionate individuals who have stayed in Colombia and driven it forward. There is now a healthy white-footed tamarin population in captivity. Previously the species, which has specific husbandry needs, did not thrive at all in zoos and rescue centres due to high rates of disease and early mortality. But the species’ habitat has now been surveyed and its health status assessed.

A series of education initiatives have been put in place, targeting the areas with the highest level of illegal poaching in Colombia. Fantastic festivals run by local school children have highlighted the plight of the tamarin, resulting in less individuals being taken form the wild. And just last year, the project purchased an area of land which was donated to the national parks authorities specifically for the conservation of the species. This was a fantastic achievement. The project’s success is largely due to the passionate conservationists in Colombia whose dedication and commitment have given this beautiful little primate a fighting chance of survival.

Corpocaldos Rescue Centre

The rescue centre is situated just outside la Victoria, a beautiful town in the region of Corpocaldos. It is run by Oscar Osprina, a man who has worked tirelessly for the conservation of the white-footed tamarin. He has attended every workshop since 2006 and has used the knowledge and experience gained to help him design and build a wonderful wildlife rehabilitation centre.

Please help, donate what you can today.

Watch videos from our Head of Mammals Dom Wormell's recent trip to visit white footed tamarin conservation projects in Colombia.

Film: Durrell & the White Footed Tamarin

Raw Footage: White Footed Tamarin (aka 'Titi Gris')

Interview: Durrell Head of Mammals Dom Wormell

Interview: Durrell Conservation Academy Graduates in Colombia

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