November 8, 2016
Our smallest residents, seven cotton top tamarins and a marmoset, got new larger habitats that better emulate the tropical forests of their native South America.
In the humid tropical forests of Colombia where tamarins are from, there are multiple vertical layers of growth, from the short under-story to the tallest trees in the canopy. Cotton-top tamarins use multiple layers of the tropical forests in which they are found, moving vertically between the understory and canopy, but preferentially utilizing the lower vertical levels of the forest. Marmosets have claw-like nails, allowing them to cling vertically to trees, run quadrupedally across branches, and move between trees by leaping.
Located in a wooded area of the sanctuary, which provides a natural canopy, their new exterior enclosures are eight feet tall, five feet wide and eight feet deep, providing a spacious area for PPI’s smallest primates to explore and forage in. The typical daily routine of cotton-tops involves an alternating pattern of foraging, resting and traveling. The new habitats also feature dirt bottoms and potted trees and flora from which they can cling to and leap from, much like they would in Colombia.
To mimic the tropical climate of their native home, each exterior space also contains a mister, and their equally large interior bedrooms feature an evaporative cooling system.
Export of cotton top tamarins from their native Colombia was banned in 1974, but before that they were often exported for the pet trade and zoos. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, it is estimated that 20,000-30,000 were exported to the United States for biomedical research. They were often used for colon cancer research.
Our cotton-top tamarins arrived at PPI from a biomedical research facility. Today, cotton-top tamarins are among the most endangered primates in the world. They are listed as Critically Endangered due to severe reduction in population, estimated to be greater than 80 percent over the past three generations (18 years) due to destruction of habitat for agricultural activities. And unfortunately, cotton-tops are still also captured and illegally sold as pets. Current population estimates for the species in the wild are 6,000 individuals.
Speaking of new habitats, we are thrilled to announce that on Oct. 4, 2016, we raised more than $30,000 on Great Apes Giving Day, which will be used to renovate our chimpanzee bedroom areas.
PPI cares for 42 chimpanzees, and sponsoring a chimp makes a great Christmas gift for that special someone in your life who has everything! You can visit our website to “meet” some of the animals looking for sponsors.
In the meantime, we thought you’d like to get to know a couple other animals to sponsor for the gift that keeps on giving.