Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Disney Efforts Help to Protect the Golden Lion Tamarin’s Forest Home

About the size of a squirrel and with a beautiful silky reddish-gold coat, the golden lion tamarin is truly one of nature’s wonders. Guests who visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom can see this tiny endangered monkey at Rafiki’s Planet Watch. I was fortunate enough this summer to see these animals in the only place in the world where they are found in the wild: the forests of Brazil.

I have to say it was quite an adventure to meet my first wild golden lion tamarin thanks to The Golden Lion Tamarin Association (Associação Mico-Leão-Dourado). With support from the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF), the Association has been leading the effort to save forests for these amazing animals for the last 25 years.
Golden lion tamarins are quite a story. With the population hovering at only a few thousand, zoos around the world banded together to reintroduce golden lion tamarins born in their facilities to the wild. It was a success! These animals joined wild golden lion tamarins to form breeding groups that have brought this species back from the brink of extinction. Now, the country of Brazil even pictures a golden lion tamarin on the currency—that’s progress!

Today’s conservation efforts focus on working with people to protect Brazil’s tropical forests to make sure the tamarins continue to have a home. The DWCF has helped support long-term conservation efforts to protect these forests and to develop public education programs that reach millions of people in rural communities and in the largest cities of Brazil.
And, as you’ll see in this new video, the DWCF, along with Disney’s Friends for Change, has helped The Golden Lion Tamarin Association engage the next generation of conservationists — Brazil’s young people — to protect the tamarin.

This is truly a program that we can all be so very proud of, as people in Brazil have rallied to protect this amazing animal for the future.


Did you know?
Golden lion tamarins measure only about a foot from the top of their heads to the base of their tails and weigh little more than a pound.
These small monkeys live high atop the canopy of the rainforest, where they can leap from branch to branch with amazing agility as they forage for food.
They live in family groups of 2 to 8 individuals, and all individuals in the group assist in the rearing of the newborn tamarins.

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