top of page


What happens when you combine primate pets and wild marmosets with urbanised forest fragmentation?

Over the last 100 years the South-eastern Atlantic Rain forest has been reduced to approx 7% of its former coverage, there are thousands of fragments and connectivity between the significant ones are surely a potential solution to the biological damage that is occurring in the Brazilian Atlantic forest is to repair areas of this biome so that the balance of biodiversity can be restored. If something dramatic isn’t done then there are two primate species that will go extinct in the wild in the very near future!

Over the last 40 years the release of non native marmosets outside their natural range has created a sinister and significant threat to the survival of the native species. The potential extent of invasive marmoset species living far outside their home range and the levels of hybridization that now exist have been highlighted in a study in the State of Minas Gearis, if action is not taken to conserve the native species they will soon be lost!

A paper entitled CALLITHRIX AURITA: A MARMOSET SPECIES ON ITS WAY TO EXTINCTION IN THE BRAZILIAN ATLANTIC FOREST was published in Neotropical Primates in 2018, here is an extract:

'The buffy-tufted-ear marmoset (Callithrix aurita) is a small primate endemic to the montane regions of the southeastern Atlantic Forest in Brazil. The species was formerly listed as “Vulnerable” (VU) on the Brazilian Official National List of Threatened Fauna Species, but in December 2014 it was re-classified as “Endangered” (EN) as a result of habitat loss, forest fragmentation and, especially, competition and hybridization with invasive marmosets (Callithrix spp.). This article gives an overview of the current conservation status of and field research on C. aurita that includes the objectives set forth by the C. aurita Conservation Project (spearheaded in December 2014 by a group of C. aurita researchers), and the related set of integrated conservation actions. These actions include expanded geographical surveys of C. aurita populations, improvements to a captive C. aurita breeding program, and the establishment of new protected areas as part of a C. aurita metapopulation management program. Despite these current efforts, however, the strengthening and consolidation of urgent conservation actions to protect the buffy-tufted-ear marmoset still depend on a variety of factors, including increased institutional collaboration and augmented financial support. Enhancing institutional and financial backing for C. aurita conservation will improve our understanding of the various challenges involved and, facilitate the rapid development of alternative strategies to mitigate ongoing threats to the species.'

An important initiative is a legislative proposal by the state of São Paulo, which has been under consideration by the office of the state’s Environmental Secretary since 2016 to establish reproductive restrictions for allochthonous Callithrix legally held in captivity within São Paulo, in order to reduce surplus, legally-captive marmosets and reduce undue releases of exotic Callithrix into the wild.

The Mountain Marmoset Conservation Program is mobilising a conservation campaign to save 2 endangered species from becoming extinct in the wild, it isn’t to late but without dramatic and lasting conservation actions it soon will be!

There are several different ways you can get involved, join the Mountain Marmosets to keep in touch with the latest developments, find out about research placements and ways to support the team on our epic mission to save these two charismatic little monkeys!

related articles (hyperlink)

bottom of page