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Once nearing extinction, Brazil’s golden monkeys have rebounded from yellow fever, scientists say

by Lucas Garcia
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fokus keyword: golden lion tamarins

Brazil’s golden lion tamarins, once on the verge of extinction, have seen a substantial recovery, scientists announce. A fresh survey indicates that the population of these small monkeys, with long tails and copper-colored fur, is now at its highest since conservation efforts began in the 1970s.

The population had dwindled to a mere 200 animals in the wild but has now rebounded to approximately 4,800, according to research published on Tuesday by the Brazilian Golden Lion Tamarin Association. The organization’s president, Luís Paulo Ferraz, expressed both joy and caution, acknowledging that various threats remain.

These animals, exclusive to Brazil’s Atlantic Forest, continue to be classified as endangered. Their numbers had plummeted due to a yellow fever outbreak, falling to 2,500 in 2019 from 3,700 in 2014. However, researchers have noted a recovery, possibly as a result of the yellow fever outbreak subsiding, combined with a successful vaccination drive.

Additionally, a 16% increase in connected forest habitat from 2014 to 2022 has contributed to the recovery. This growth mainly occurred through the reforestation of areas previously used for cattle pasture, with around three dozen farmers and ranchers taking part in these initiatives.

One such participant, Ayrton Violento, a farmer and entrepreneur, expressed joy in observing the tamarins roaming freely on his property. Native fruit trees have been planted on his farm, and a tree nursery has been established to cultivate seedlings for planting in other areas.

Despite the encouraging news, concerns persist about the potential resurgence of illegal trafficking for the pet trade. A recent incident involving the seizure of golden lion tamarins in Suriname highlights this vulnerability.

Ferraz from the Golden Lion Tamarin Association remarked on the species’ resilience but emphasized that they are still susceptible to dangers. Efforts to preserve and protect these unique animals will continue to be vital in maintaining their survival and growth.

This article includes a correction, noting that James Dietz holds the position of vice president, not president, at the U.S.-based nonprofit Save the Golden Lion Tamarin. The Health and Science Department of The Big Big News also acknowledges support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group. The content of this report is solely the responsibility of the AP.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about fokus keyword: golden lion tamarins

What species has rebounded in Brazil from the brink of extinction?

The golden lion tamarins have rebounded from the brink of extinction in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest. Their population has grown to around 4,800.

How did the golden lion tamarins recover from such a low population?

The recovery is believed to be the result of the yellow fever outbreak subsiding, possibly due to a combination of the virus’ natural cycle and vaccination campaigns, as well as a 16% increase in forest habitat between 2014 and 2022.

Are the golden lion tamarins still considered endangered?

Yes, despite the increase in population, the golden lion tamarins are still considered endangered.

What efforts have been made for reforestation to aid in the recovery of the golden lion tamarins?

Around three dozen farmers and ranchers in the Atlantic Forest region have participated in reforestation programs, mainly regrowing forests on converted cattle pasture. Some have also planted native fruit trees and manage tree nurseries for native Atlantic Forest seedlings.

Is there still concern regarding the trafficking of golden lion tamarins?

Yes, there is still concern about a renewed risk of trafficking for the illegal pet trade, which was a rampant problem in the 1960s but had almost disappeared in recent decades. A recent incident involving the seizure of golden lion tamarins in Suriname underscores this ongoing vulnerability.

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