Projects

Saving the Cotton-top Tamarin, Colombia

Cotton TopPROJECT SNAPSHOT

LOCATION: Urabá moist rainforest in northwest Colombia

KEY SPECIES:  Cotton-top Tamarin, Colombian Spider Monkey, Jaguar, Lowland Tapir, Baudo Oropendula

HABITAT: Moist Rainforest

THREATS: Habitat destruction for cattle ranching, hunting

ACTION: Purchase 1,646 acres; $100 per acre

LOCAL PARTNERS: Fundación ProAves

FINANCIAL NEED: $164,600 for land purchase

$500DONATIONS TO DATE
$164,600OUR GOAL
Urabá moist rainforest in northwest Colombia
Cotton-top Tamarin
Colombian Spider Monkey

Time to Act: Due to a generous matching (1:1) offer, all donations to this project will be doubled until we have reached our fundraising goal. This means acres can now be bought for $50.

Project Description

The iconic Cotton-top Tamarin (Saguinus oedipus) and the Colombian Spider Monkey (Ateles fusciceps) are two of the rarest primates in the Americas and they both depend on luxuriant lowland rainforests in northwest Colombia.

Sadly, rampant deforestation and gold mining across their tiny range threaten their very survival. It is estimated that 95% of their habitat in the Urubá rainforest has been lost. In 2013, however, Rainforest Trust and its Colombian conservation partner ProAves created the 5,691-acre Titi Nature Reserve to protect key habitat.

Expanding the Tit Nature Reserve by 1,641 acres will provide critical protection for these primates. 

The spectacular and unique Urabá rainforest totals just over 100,000 acres.  Its importance lies in its location at the crossroads of four major Ecoregions–the Chocó rainforests to the west, Caribbean coastal dry forests to the east, Central American-Darién moist rainforest to the north, and Andean cloud forests to the south.

This melting pot of biodiversity from four distinctive ecological zones of Central and South America have produced a rare and unique assemblage of flora and fauna–much of which is undescribed. In fact much of this original rainforest habitat was destroyed long ago when some of the earliest banana plantations and cattle ranches in South America were established here.

While much of the 100,000 acres of rainforest wilderness has no human inhabitants and presently is largely inaccessible, miners and loggers are clearing forests on the northern flank of this wilderness to gain access to the area’s fragile natural resources.

Rainforest Trust and its Colombian partner Fundación ProAves have negotiated the purchase of private lands and are seeking to strategically expand the Titi Nature Reserve by 1,641 acres at $100/acre.

Species Background

Habitat destruction is the main threat to both the Cotton-top Tamarin and the Colombian Spider Monkey. They are estimated to have lost over 80% of potential habitat, with 30% of that lost in just the past decade. Most of what remains is at risk and unprotected. While the population estimate for the Spider Monkey is between 70-100 individuals, it is known to be heavily hunted (local people believe it helps cure malaria) and remains extremely rare and little known.

Current wild population estimates, according to a study conducted by the scientists of PT, for the tamarin are 2,000 mature individuals with a sharply decreasing population.  The findings of the study prompted reclassification of the Cotton-tops to Critically Endangered and they were also listed on the 2008-2010 list of the world’s 25 most endangered primates. Therefore, efforts to secure their remaining habitat is of the utmost conservation importance.

Map of the Project Area


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