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Cotton-top tamarin

Proyecto Tití

Weighing about one pound and roughly the size of a squirrel, the cotton-top tamarin is a tiny primate facing a massive crisis. Found solely in the forests of northwestern Colombia, cotton-tops are one of the most endangered primates in the world. With such a tightly-focused habitat, every inch of forest becomes even more crucial to the survival of the species, which has become critically endangered due not only to their decreasing habitat, but also to their capture for the local pet trade in Colombia.

The cotton-top tamarin’s plight has not gone unnoticed. Proyecto Tití, a conservation program based in Colombia, has spent the last three decades spreading awareness of the cotton-top tamarin, known locally as “tití,” and developing local advocates for the preservation of the species. The program allocates resources towards community development, conservation education, and combatting the illegal pet trade.

One such effort includes working with the community to manufacture and implement eco-friendly fence posts. Made from recycled plastic, “titi posts” are a more durable, longer-lasting option than their wooden counterparts. Zoo New England recently helped fund the production of over 500 titi posts.

Posts are being installed at the organization’s forest reserve and restoration and reforestation sites. Manufacturing the posts generates an income for local communities, reduces pollution, and decreases the need to cut trees from the forest for fence production.

It is the hope of Proyecto Tití that such efforts will motivate a philosophy of conservation throughout local communities, working towards the preservation of all of Colombia’s wildlife.

Pictured here: Mr. Santiago Romero, a landowner who worked with Proyecto Tití on its forest restoration and connectivity program.  Romero installed sustainable titi posts on his farm to create an isolated area for cotton-tops and other wildlife.

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