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Yellow tailed woolly monkey conservation

Oreonax flavicauda. © Kevin Schafer

Since 2007 Neotropical Primate Conservation (NPC) has been using the Critically Endangered yellow tailed woolly monkey (Oreonax flavicauda) as a “flagship species”  for conservation in the Tropical Andes Biodiversity Hotspot of North-Eastern Peru.

We aim to create community run reserves which will protect a major part of the natural biological corridors connecting existing protected areas, ensuring long term habitat protection for O. flavicauda and other sympatric species.

This species is listed by the IUCN as Critically Endangered and features on the current list of the world’s top 25 most endangered primates. It is endemic to a small area of cloud forest in the Tropical Andes region of Peru. This area is known to be the most biodiverse region on earth. 

This area faces immense pressures from mining concessions, commercial logging and land clearance for cattle ranching and coffee cultivation and its forests are disappearing rapidly. NPC has published findings from a GIS survey of yellow tailed woolly monkey habitat in Peru and found alarming rates of deforestation and loss, it is estimated that at least 50% of this species original habitat is already lost and the remaining forest still under pressure. The article can be accessed via the publications page.

An infant yellow tailed woolly monkey. @ Noga Shanee

Through scientific investigation this project provides baseline information on the conservation status of O. flavicauda and other threatened species. Specific investigation work includes general animal and plant censuses, basic behavioural ecology, vocal communication and habitat requirements of O. flavicauda and the many endemic and endangered sympatric species, including the endemic and little known Andean night monkey (Aotus miconax).

We work with people from local communities who are interested in helping to create a network of community run reserves for the conservation of this species. In return we are working to help create sustainable, eco-friendly income alternatives to the current non-sustainable practises in the area. Growing poverty and disastrous local climate changes have given many local people a first hand appreciation of the urgent need to adjust to a more sustainable way of life and are therefore more then willing to cooperate in any conservation effort.

The project combines the creation of community run reserves with scientific census work within the proposed reserves, a reforestation program using native tree species that are beneficial to humans and wildlife, environmental education and the development of markets for native agriculture products, handicrafts made in the area and tourism.

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