promoting conservation through artistic efforts
HomeBiographyC.V.Scratchboard InfoGalleryUpcoming EventsContact

The Cotton top tamarin (Sanguinus oedipus) is one of the world's 25 most endangered primates. This critically endangered species lives in a small area of parks and reserves in north western Columbia - mainly primary and secondary growth rainforest. There are only 300 - 1000 left in the wild. Deforestation and collection for the pet trade and scientific research have almost wiped them out. 

At only 10 - 18 ounces in weight, they are among the world's smallest primates. What they lack in size, they make up for in energy. Bounding and leaping through the trees and sifting endlessly through forest leaf litter, they are constantly foraging for food. Insects, fruit and nectar are the primary diet although (much to my chagrin) reptiles and amphibians are also eaten.

Tamarins are crucial seed dispersers of the rain forest, and apparently they eat and void seeds even larger than those eaten by chimps or baboons. The germination success of tamarin-voided seeds is also greater than that of many other primates.

I have always had a soft spot for these teeny gremlin-like creatures. Leaping about as though on a caffeine high, they are incredibly interesting to watch. With their puffy white manes, you can't help but giggle at them. My goal here, however, is to educate others on the importance of these animals to rainforest ecology and downplay the cute factor. It is this "cuteness" that caused so many to be collected from the forest and contribute to their demise.

Forest Forager
8 x 8