To promote the survival of cotton-top tamarins in Colombia by means of environmental education
The cotton-top tamarin,Saguinus oedipus, is one of the most endangered primates in its native habitat of Colombia. Found only in north-western Colombia, the cotton-top tamarin is continually threatened by the destruction of its habitat, live capture for local and international pet markets and the biomedical industry. Significant exports for biomedical research contributed to the cotton-top tamarin's decline in the late 1960's and early 1970's. In 1973, the species was declared endangered and exportation was banned. Currently, deforestation is the greatest threat to the cotton-top tamarin and to Colombian biodiversity in general. Colombia is among the top ten countries worldwide in terms of deforestation, and is surpassed only by Brazil, in the western hemisphere. Each year more than 4000 km² of tropical habitat is destroyed. Also the illegal pet trade still poses a problem.
In 1992, a survey of students in a rural community of Colombia showed that 90% of the students were not aware that the cotton-top tamarin is found only in Colombia and is one of the most endangered primates in their country
The Zoological Foundation of Baranquilla (FUNDAZOO) and Disney's Animal Kingdom have been working together since 2001 to promote conservation of the cotton-top tamarin. Their common interest in conservation has been the key to a successful collaborative experience between the two zoos addressing different, but equally important parts of the problem.
Field conservation studies and in situ environmental education programmes developed by Disney's Animal Kingdom in the distribution area of distribution of the cotton-top tamarin complemented the educational activities and materials provided by FUNDAZOO to improve awareness of the urban population of Barranquilla, the city where most of the pet trade takes place.
The project is designed to go on for at least 15 years.
WAZA Conservation Project 04005 is operated by Baranquilla Zoo in collaboration with Disney's Wild Animal Kingdom and INDERENA, and is supported by the Akron Zoo, Brookfield Zoo, Fossil Rim, Rhodes Islands Zoo, Roger Williams Park Zoo, The Wilds and the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA).
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