Critically Endangered Species: Colombia’s Cotton-headed Tamarin

Tti%20CabeciblancoAs I was reading about the forthcoming conference Symposium on Ecosystemic Functions of Colombia’s Caribbean Zone, I was captivated by information on efforts to save the tití cabeciblanco or cotton-headed tamarin. The cotton-headed tamarin (Saguinus oedipus), named for the long white crest of fur around its otherwise black face, is a critically endangered species. One of South America’s most endangered primates, the cotton-headed tamarin is found only in Colombia.

As the  ARKive blog explains, this small monkey lives in tropical rainforests and dry deciduous forests in groups of up to 13 individuals, but only one dominant female in the group breeds, with the other group members helping to care for and carry the young. The main threat to the cotton-headed tamarin is the clearance of forests for timber, charcoal, agriculture and human settlement. Many of the remaining patches of forest may be too small to maintain tamarin populations in the long term. This species has also been collected for the pet trade and for biomedical research, but its export has now been banned.

Proyecto Tití, a conservation programme for the cotton-headed tamarin, undertakes a range of conservation actions for this species, including field research, education projects, and developing agricultural training programmes and alternative incomes for local communities.

According to the ICUN Red List, Saguinus oedipus occurs in north-western Colombia between the Río Atrato and the lower Río Cauca (west of the Río Cauca and the Isla de Mompos) and Magdalena, in the Departments of Atlántico, Sucre, Córdoba, and western Bolívar, north-western Antiquoía (from the Uraba region, west of the Río Cauca) and north-eastern Choco, east of the Río Atrato, from sea level up to 1,500 meters. [. . .] Groups have been seen in the Islas del Rosario and Tayrona National Park in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. However, these populations were founded by captive animals that were released into the area and these remnant populations are here considered as outside of the historic range of the species.

Find out more about cotton-headed tamarin conservation at Proyecto Tití.

Find out more about primate conservation at the IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group and Neotropical Primate Conservation.

See images and videos of the cotton-headed tamarin on ARKive.

For full articles, see

To contribute to Proyecto Tití, see

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