Beloved Brazilian Monkey Clings To A Shrinking Forest

The wild population of the golden lion tamarin, which lives only in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest, fell to just 200 in the 1970s.

The tiny, copper-hued golden lion tamarin is so beloved in Brazil that its image graces the country’s 20-real bank note. But this lion-maned monkey is in peril.

There’s only one place on earth where the golden lion tamarin lives in the wild: in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest, or Mata Atlantica, just north of Rio de Janeiro. Deforestation in the region has reduced the monkey’s habitat, once a massive ecosystem stretching for a half-million square miles, to just 2 percent of its original size.

By the 1970s, the total golden lion tamarin population in the wild had plummeted to just 200 individuals. Conservationists have brought the monkey back from the brink — barely. Through captive breeding programs in zoos, the tamarin population grew until biologists were able to release tamarins into the wild.

At first, the zoo tamarins didn’t know how to survive. Some were eaten by predators; some starved. But others managed to reproduce, and subsequent generations have thrived. Today, there are 1,700 of them living in patches of forest along the Atlantic Coast.

But that comeback may be short-lived. The monkeys need even more forest for their population to grow.

Read the full story here.

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About jensera

Jennifer Harrington is a Toronto-based illustrator, writer and graphic designer. She illustrated the best-selling children’s book series 'A Moose in a Maple Tree,' which includes the titles 'A Moose in a Maple Tree,' 'The Night Before a Canadian Christmas' and 'Canadian Jingle Bells.' She is also the owner of JSH Graphics, a boutique graphic design agency that specializes in print and web advertising. With her latest project, Eco Books 4 Kids, Jennifer has partnered with illustrator Michael Arnott to create a series of ecologically-themed ebooks for children. Her next book, 'Spirit Bear,' is due for release in the Summer of 2013. Jennifer offers two different school presentations for her 'Moose in a Maple Tree' collection, an illustration demonstration and a Christmas concert series, which can be booked at www.amooseinamapletree.com. She will be taking bookings for school readings of 'Spirit Bear' beginning in October 2013.

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