Cotton-top tamarins, often referred to as “little Einsteins” due to the bushy mane of white hair on top of their head, are found exclusively within the tropical forests of northwestern Columbia. These tiny primates, known locally as “titís,” are among the most endangered primates in the world. Columbia’s tropical rainforests are rapidly being destroyed for cattle ranching, agriculture, and urban development. Their small size and friendly demeanor also make them desirable within the illegal pet trade. It is estimated there are only 6,000 individuals remaining in their natural habitat—a number that continues to decline.
Proyecto Tití, a conservation organization focused on protecting cotton-top tamarins, was founded in 1985. They work with the local communities of Columbia to educate and protect these monkeys. Their scientific studies and economic alternatives help to provide information to support long-term preservation of this species.
Proyecto Tití works with the village Los Limites, located near the organization’s field site in Santa Catalina. The women in this village hand-crochet traditional Colombian “Eco-Mochila” bags, created entirely from recycled plastic bags. Each purchase of an eco-mochila product helps the community of Los Limites, reducing dependency on the surrounding forests for resources and preserving these habitats for native species, including cotton-top tamarins. Eco-mochila products allow Proyecto Tití to extend conservation efforts worldwide—including right here at the Zoofari Outpost Gift Shop, where they are available year-round!
The Zoo will be celebrating Cotton-top Tamarin Day Saturday, August 10, 2019 from 10 AM to 3 PM. Enjoy crafts, activities, and the opportunity to learn how you can protect this critically endangered species from extinction. There will be a Keeper Chat at 11 AM, followed by a special presentation by Dr. Anne Savage—the founder and Executive Director of Proyecto Tití! Dr. Savage is a renowned biologist and also serves as the Conservation Director for Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. Her global studies in animal behavior and conservation biology have helped her to develop innovative techniques to protect wildlife worldwide. Join us to learn about her experiences with Proyecto Tití, current conservation initiatives, and ways you can help make an impact for endangered wildlife!