Golden Lion Tamarin
- Sold by poachers in the black market
- Habitat loss due to illegal logging, irresponsible farming, and unplanned expansion of urban and suburban areas
- Vulnerability to diseases due to inbreeding and translocation
The coastal rainforest regions of south-eastern Brazil are the natural habitat for the Golden Lion Tamarin, a squirrel-sized monkey species that looks very identical to marmosets. Its name take after the impressive mane of hair of Africa’s great apex land predators.
These tree-dwelling primates travel from branch to branch – up to 100 feet off the ground – to find fruits, insects, and birds’ eggs. Crickets are some of the favourite food items of these diurnal omnivore hunters.
Estimates state that there are between 1,000 and 3,200 Golden Lion Tamarins found in the wild today as only about eight percent of its native forest range remains. This limited foraging area – caused by illegal logging, irresponsible farming, and unplanned expansion of urban and suburban areas – is making it difficult for this monkey species to reproduce at its normal rate.
Because of its dwindling population, inbreeding becomes inevitable which results to weaker resistance to diseases and contributes to shorter lifespan.
The continued destruction of its habitat also puts the Golden Lion Tamarins at risk of increased exposure to nocturnal predators such as wild cats, snakes, and even rats. Poachers risk imprisonment of up to two years just to be able to get their hands on its hide which commands up to US$20,000 in the black market.