Proyecto Mono Tocón

To conserve San Martin titi monkeys and other primates in Peru

 

The San Martin titi monkey (Callicebus oenanthe) is a Peruvian endemic primate species. Until 2002 it was known from only six museum specimens, originating from the area around Moyobamba, Department of San Martin, Peru. Considering the degradation of the forests in this region, it was assumed that C. oenanthe was extremely rare, and possibly even critically endangered.

 

Until 2007, no conservation measures were taken, probably due to the lack of information on the distribution and conservation status of the species. Therefore, in 2007 Le Conservatoire pour la Protection des Primates, the conservation association of La Vallée des Singes Primate Park in France, initiated the Proyecto Mono Tocón, a project for the conservation of the San Martin titi monkey (locally known as mono tocón) and its habitat. As a first step, extensive research was started on the distribution and taxonomy of C. oenanthe. The study revealed that the distribution of the species was larger than expected, but due to an extremely high rate of deforestation (up to 80% in some provinces) the species is in immediate danger of extinction. The results of the studies were used by IUCN to upgrade its status on the Red List from Vulnerable to Critically Endangered.

 

In 2009 the local Peruvian NGO Proyecto Mono Tocón was founded. The project employs fulltime four young Peruvian biologists. The enthusiastic team is supported by six students who run their theses with the project, and an active group of more than 15 volunteers, mostly students from the local university.

 

In order to take effective conservation measures, research on the distribution of the San Martin titi monkey and the threats to its survival continues. With the help of GIS habitat studies and field research, we intend to determine which areas are the most suitable for titi monkey conservation. Additional research is conducted on other primates, including a new population of bald uacaris (Cacajao sp.) that our team discovered in the mountains of San Martin. Our team supports other primate projects and bird surveys.

 

Our active education team has developed an interactive educational programme for local schools around areas with titi monkeys. In the city of Moyobamba a botanical garden is being transformed into an educational centre, in which school groups and tourists can learn about the nature of San Martin. Nature clubs for children have been founded. The members are active for our educational department, and help with the cleaning of the streets and public areas of the cities. As there is little action against the illegal animal trade, workshops on the importance of nature protection and law enforcement are given to local authorities. Groups of guides working for ecotourism projects have received environmental education. A comic book about nature conservation was created and distributed in large parts of San Martin, including by other projects.

 

The conservation activities range from membership in nature reserve management committees to the creation of new protected areas. Local (native) communities are supported, mainly technically, in their strive for the creation of nature reserves on their territories. The project no longer focuses only on the San Martin titi monkey, but on all primates of the region and their habitat.

 

The project is coordinated by Le Conservatoire pour la Protection des Primates and the Spanish NGC Sugkamat. The project is adopted by the Callicebus cupreus EEP, and is supported by a large number of European zoos.

 

WAZA Conservation Project 12001 is implemented by Proyecto Mono Tocón, with support provided by La Vallée des Singes (project leader), La Boissière du Doré, Thoiry, Peaugres, Apenheul, Zodiac Zoos, Blackpool, Shaldon Wildlife Trust, Zoological Society of London, Belfast, Twycross, Basel and Eskilstuna. Other stakeholders involved in the project include Conservation International Peru, Primate Conservation Inc., Mohammed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund and CEPA.

 

Visit www.proyecto-mono-tocon.org.

 

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