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The international conservation programme for the White-footed tamarin Saguinus leucopus in Colombia



The White-footed or Silvery brown tamarin Saguinus leucopus is an endemic Colombian species, threatened by the pet trade and loss of habitat, and for which protection is minimal. Local authorities confiscate about one animal every week, placing them in rescue centres and zoos where there are many husbandry problems. An international conservation programme was established in 2005, currently coordinated by Beauval Zoo in France and locally by Asociación Colombiana de Parques Zoológicos y Acuarios (ACOPAZOA). The programme is a partnership between a consortium of 21 European zoos, ACOPAZOA, local organizations (including nine Colombian zoos), central and regional conservation public authorities, non-governmental organizations (especially the Wildlife Conservation Society), Colombian universities and researchers. The project combines ex situ in-country reproduction, education and research, and in situ conservation and education projects, to protect the species. All efforts to date have been a starting point for the conservation of this endemic species, but the final goals are to: (1) create a protected area for the White-footed tamarins in Colombia, (2) develop two breeding programmes for the species, one in Colombia and the other in Europe, (3) reduce capture of White-footed tamarins for the pet-trade market, through education initiatives, and (4) ease the pressure on the forest habitat that is still intact.