In 2012, Women for Conservation partner Fundación ProAves discovered a large block of privately owned lowland rainforest near the Colombian Darién Gap contained the highest known concentration of the iconic and critically endangered Cotton-top Tamarin (locally known as the Titi) and Black-headed Spider Monkey. Fundación ProAves negotiated the purchase of over 2,000 acres to protect these species and others — including the Baudo Oropendola, Great Curassow and Jaguar — through the creation of the Titi Nature Reserve. However, 79.1 acres (32 hectares) within the Reserve close to the Pan-American highway remain unprotected and open to mining interests.
After years of negotiation, the owner has finally decided to sell this internal property, but gold prospectors are eager to exploit the area. Fundación ProAves managed to secure a promise of purchase if we can raise $12,160 within 30 days. Women for Conservation urgently seeks $154 per acre to save this strategic inholding of 79.1 acres at imminent risk of destruction.
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Both the Cotton-top Tamarin and the Black-headed Spider Monkey are estimated to have lost over 80% of potential habitat, with 30% of that lost in just the past few decades. Current population estimates for the Tamarin are 2,000 mature individuals with a sharply decreasing population. There are no population estimates or protections for the Spider Monkey, although it is known to be heavily hunted (local people believe it helps cure malaria) and remains extremely rare. The Titi Nature Reserve and this additional 79.1 acres are critical to the survival of both species.
After securing the property, Women for Conservation aims to work with the local population to create participatory agreements to prevent the hunting of endangered monkeys and other threatened species while promoting sustainable livelihoods. The Emberá Katío indigenous people inhabit the region neighboring the Titi Nature Reserve, where traditionally women hold positions of power within the community and women’s organizations play a large role in collective decision making. Along with cacao and Lulo fruit cultivation, a staple of the local economy is the market of beautiful fabric necklaces made mainly by women. Women for Conservation hopes to encourage the selling of these artisan products to secure livelihoods for people living near the Reserve.
Location: Mutata Municipality, Department of Antioquia, Colombia
Key Species: Cotton-top Tamarin (CR), Black-headed Spider Monkey (CR), Baudo Oropendola (VU), Great Curassow (VU), Jaguar (NT)
Habitat: Lowland rainforest
Primary Threats: Habitat loss, mining, cattle grazing
Conservation Actions: Participatory agreements to prevent hunting, encouragement of artisan economy