• callitrichid;
  • conservation;
  • education;
  • field work;
  • New World primate;
  • research;
  • sustainable development;
  • zoo

The Cotton-top tamarin Saguinus oedipus is a Critically Endangered primate found only in Colombia. While a popular exhibit animal in zoos and an important research subject in the study of colon cancer and reproductive biology and behaviour, efforts to create a self-sustaining captive-breeding population for this species have been very successful. With the wealth of information on biology, captive management and status in the wild, efforts are now focused on ensuring that Cotton-top tamarins continue to remain in the wild. With large-scale development threatening some of the last remaining forested areas for the species and its popularity in the illegal pet trade, compounded by the constant extraction of forest resources by impoverished communities, strategies are needed to protect this species effectively for the future. Here, an overview is presented of the successful, multidisciplinary conservation programme developed by Proyecto Tití to involve local communities, national and international agencies, and the conservation community in the long-term protection of Colombia's most threatened species.