Animal Diaries Archive
Conservation of the Cotton Top Tamarin - Part two
Primates are currently off display
25 January 2008
The last diary entry discussed the struggle of the small but mighty Cotton Top Tamarin and the problems they are currently facing in the wild. The main threat to these tiny monkeys is the destruction of their habitat in their homeland, Columbia. But all is not lost; there are many things that we can do to help stop this devastation before it’s too late.
As you may have read last time, local communities contribute to the threats faced by Cotton Top’s tamarins. Therefore, it is important to include these communities in the fight for the tamarin's survival. But what’s in it for them? Organisations such as Proyecto Titi have formed to develop strategies to assist the locals in using alternative methods of things such as cooking and farming in order to decrease pressure on resources originally taken from the Cotton Tops habitat. An example of this is the modification of the clay ovens used, so that they can fuel them with vegetative waste such as corn husks and coconut shells instead of using the surrounding forest.
Farmers are also being encouraged to begin replanting frequently harvested areas, rather than wiping out new areas of forest. This strategy creates a sustainable resource for the farmer, while restoring food sources and shelter for the tamarins!
Proyecto Titi has also developed a very creative exchange program, designed to stop the hunting of Cotton Top Tamarins. Members of a village were encouraged to hand over their slingshots, which are commonly used to hunt the tamarins, in return for a plush cotton top tamarin toy! The program proved very successful as toys like this are rare in local communities. As a result the amount of hunting and capturing of tamarins for pet trade decreased significantly.
The future for Tamarins is not bright, but organisations like Proyecto Titi, with support from local communities, will continue to educate people on the importance of the precious little Cotton Top and hopefully secure the survival of this species.
Tune in next time for more "monkeying around"!