The Golden Lion Tamarin (Leontopithecus rosalia) also known as Golden Marmoset, is a small New World monkey of the family Callitrichidae. Native to the Atlantic coastal forests of Brazil, the Golden Lion Tamarin is an endangered species with an estimated wild population of "more than 1,000 individuals" and a captive population maintained at approximately 490 individuals.
Most of the wild population is confined to the Poço das Antas Biological Reserve, a protected area of swampy forests in the state of Rio de Janeiro. It is an important bastion of the Golden Lion Tamarin, as only 2% of forests in the monkey's original range remains. Furthermore, its existing habitat has been broken up by logging and agriculture; this has led to isolated populations and inbreeding, a combination likely to result in extinction. WWF is currently working to increase the protected area of forest available to these animals, and zoos are reintroducing captive-bred tamarins to the wild.
Deforestation in the state of Rio de Janeiro began in the 16th Century, with successive cycles of development supporting sugar cane plantations, coffee plantations, and in the last century particularly cattle breeding, besides persistent logging, charcoal production, and clearing for urbanization. The state is one of the most populous regions of Brazil, and today L. rosalia is limited to some few and isolated forest patches. Approximately 20% of the original range of L. rosalia is still forested, but 60% of this total is comprised of patches of 1,000 ha or less, 96% of which are less than 100 ha. The average size of the forest patches is 35 ha: smaller than the home range of a single lion tamarin group (Kierulff and Procópio de Oliveira 1996). Fires, set by cattle farmers adjacent to the remaining forest patches in the region, are a constant threat. http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/details/11506/0... [continues]
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