Golden lion tamarin no longer critically endangered | WWF

Golden lion tamarin no longer critically endangered

Posted on 18 November 2003    
Golden lion tamarin (Leontopithecus rosalia).
© WWF / Martin Harvey

Gland, Switzerland - The golden lion tamarin has moved from critically endangered to endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

The species, which is endemic to Brazil, was the only primate that shifted into a lower threat category on the list published today. Just over 30 years ago, the golden lion tamarin was on the brink of extinction.

In 1971, when WWF started working with its partners to protect the primate, there were fewer than 200 left in the wild. After tireless conservation work, the 1,000th baby tamarin was born in March 2001. One-third of this population is the direct result of a WWF-supported programme to reintroduce zoo-born animals into the wild and to translocate isolated animals to bigger forest areas such as the Poco das Antas Biological Reserve.

However, despite the new classification by the IUCN, the golden lion tamarin remains endangered. Studies have concluded that at least 2,000 animals living in the wild are necessary to ensure the species' long-term survival. WWF believes that the habitat of the golden lion tamarin needs to be significantly increased, from nearly 17,000 to 25,000 hectares, by 2025 for the primate population in Brazil's Atlantic Forest to double in size.

As there is little room for expansion of the wild population, WWF and its partners are working on creating forest corridors to link up the tamarin's extremely fragmented habitat. In June 2002 an Environmentally Protected Area was set up in prime tamarin habitat, the Atlantic Forest along the Sao Joao River Basin in Rio de Janeiro. This established specific criteria for the occupation and use of land so that its biological diversity was preserved.

The IUCN Red List is the world's most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of plants and animals. It uses a set of criteria to evaluate the extinction risk of thousands of species and subspecies. These criteria are relevant to all species and all regions of the world.

There are 9 Categories of Threat in the IUCN Red List system: Extinct, Extinct in the Wild, Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable, Near Threatened, Least Concern, Data Deficient, and Not Evaluated.  A species is listed as threatened if it falls in the Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable categories.

For further information:
Jorge Fecuri, Communications Officer, WWF-Brazil
Tel: +55 613 647485 E-mail:
Claire Doole, Head of Press, WWF Interntional Tel: +41 22 364 9550 E-mail:
Golden lion tamarin (Leontopithecus rosalia).
© WWF / Martin Harvey Enlarge
Golden lion tamarin.
© WWF / Juan Pratginestos Enlarge

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