Project Tamarin censusing cotton-top tamarins, Colombia
Proyecto Tití is a multi-disciplinary in situ conservation program that combines field research, education programs and community programs to make the conservation of natural resources economically feasible for local communities in Colombia.
Proyecto Tití (Project Tamarin) is working to establish the first protected area/national park for cotton-top tamarins in northwestern Colombia. To do this a habitat assessment and complete population census is needed. A habitat assessment has been completed and the remaining population of cotton-top tamarins must now be determined. A survey plan has been developed using methods able to count animals that are difficult to visualize in a tropical environment.
Two teams of observers will walk transect lines and play vocalizations of “intruding” animals using a Bose Acoustic Wave Music System which has been shown to not distort the playback vocalizations and to travel the farthest in the dense forest (>200 m). Playback studies are remarkably effective in eliciting territorial responses from cotton-top tamarins making them highly visible and easy to count.
In January 2005, the first phase of the census in the Departments of Bolivar and Atlantico will begin. The goal is to complete the initial census of these areas within six weeks.and census the six other departments within the historic distribution of the cotton-top tamarin throughout the year during the dry season. The goal is to complete the census by the end of 2005. This data combined with the habitat assessment will allow project members to select the most appropriate areas for protection and long-term conservation while providing the first estimate of the current population of cotton-top tamarins in Colombia. This data will also be used to review the IUCN status of cotton-top tamarins and provide a determination of its conservation status.
The Minnesota Zoo’s Ulysses S. Seal Conservation Grant Program awarded “Proyecto Tití (Project Tamarin)” $2300 in 2005 for the purchase of equipment and supplies for their census of the remaining cotton-top tamarin population in its historic range in Colombia. Staff champion for this project is Maria Reedstrom, Tropics Zookeeper.
Photograph courtesy of the Brookfield Zoo.