Crazy-Haired Tamarin One of the 25 Most Endangered Primates

cotton top tamarin profile photo

Image credit: suneko/Flickr

Conservationists knew that Columbia's cotton-top tamarin—with its distinctive "punk rock" inspired hairdo—was threatened by habitat loss. A new survey, however, has indicated that the situation may be far more dire then anyone had imagined.The problem was that no practical method of measuring the animal's population existed. All that was known was that between 20,000 and 30,000 had been exported to the United States in the 1960s and 1970s for use in medical laboratories.

cotton top tamarin photo

Image credit: pelican/Flickr

By broadcasting recorded tamarin calls into the forest, Dr. Len Thomas and Dr. Anne Savage managed to attract the normally shy primates to researchers who were ready to count them.

Thomas explained:

Before our study, there was no reliable estimate of the number of these animals left in the wild, and no feasible method of counting took a lot of thinking, and several failed attempts, before we came up with a survey method that worked. Our results are quite shocking, because they demonstrate that almost all of the forest where cotton-top tamarins used to live has been cut down.

As a result of their research, the cotton-top tamarin is now listed as one of the 25 most endangered primates on the planet.

Read more about endangered species:
10 Rare and Endangered Animals Having a Bad Hair Day (Slideshow)
Lego Artisan Creates Endangered Species for Zoo
Life on the Endangered Species Waiting List
7 Weird Endangered Species Only a Mother Could Love

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