KEY SPECIES: Cotton-top Tamarin (CR), Dahl’s Toad-headed Turtle (CR), Brown-headed Spider Monkey (CR), Peroba Rosa (EN)
The tropical forest region of northern Colombia has been identified by the country’s biodiversity experts as one of the most threatened ecosystems in the country. The 2016 end to the civil conflict that plagued the country for over 50 years opened up previously inaccessible areas to rapid encroachment, development and exploitation. Since then, deforestation has skyrocketed, endangering the magnificent array of ecosystems and resident species. Among these is the Critically Endangered Cotton-headed Tamarins, more commonly referred to as the Cotton-top Tamarins.
These endemic monkeys – so named for their white fluffy heads – usually live in trees with large groups with their extended family, and are completely dependent on these forests. The ongoing, extensive habitat loss has caused the Cotton-top Tamarin population to see a decline of over 80% in less than two decades. Currently, there are less than 7,000 Cotton-top Tamarins left in their natural habitat.