Durrell & the White-Footed Tamarin
Colombia is a wonderful country, rich in biodiversity with many wonderful species found nowhere else on Earth. One such gem is a tiny primate known as the white-footed tamarin, a monkey the size of a squirrel. It inhabits the last remaining forests of the Magdalena valley, which runs from north to south down the middle of the country between the Andean mountain ranges. Unfortunately, this little monkey’s lowland forest habitat is being removed at an alarming rate for agricultural use, mainly for cattle grazing. Added to its woes is the fact that it is being illegally taken from the wild in huge numbers. Being small and attractive, these tamarins have traditionally been kept as pets, living in small cages with inappropriate space and diet. With the mounting pressure on this species, it was a perfect recipe for extinction.
In 2006, ’The International Conservation Programme for the White-Footed Tamarin’ was launched. Durrell, Zoo de Beauval and the Colombian Association of Zoos & Aquariums (ACOPAZOA) have been working together ever since on all aspects of conservation for this species in the wild and in captivity, as well as education in country. A series of workshops have been the core part of the programme, bringing together all those who work with the species. There have been some great achievements for the project, made possible by the passionate individuals who have stayed in Colombia and driven it forward. There is now a healthy white-footed tamarin population in captivity. Previously the species, which has specific husbandry needs, did not thrive at all in zoos and rescue centres due to high rates of disease and early mortality. But the species’ habitat has now been surveyed and its health status assessed. A series of education initiatives have been put in place, targeting the areas with the highest level of illegal poaching in Colombia. Fantastic festivals run by local school children have highlighted the plight of the tamarin, resulting in less individuals being taken form the wild. And just last year, the project purchased an area of land which was donated to the national parks authorities specifically for the conservation of the species. This was a fantastic achievement. The project’s success is largely due to the passionate conservationists in Colombia whose dedication and commitment have given this beautiful little primate a fighting chance of survival.
Corpocaldos Rescue Centre
The rescue centre is situated just outside la Victoria, a beautiful town in the region of Corpocaldos. It is run by Oscar Osprina, a man who has worked tirelessly for the conservation of the white-footed tamarin. He has attended every workshop since 2006 and has used the knowledge and experience gained to help him design and build a wonderful wildlife rehabilitation centre.
Durrell graduates talk about their training & how it has influenced them as conservationists
Posted 22 February 2017