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Efforts to save endangered monkey in Brazil now focuses on forest

October 22, 2012

Nearly half a century ago, the endangered golden lion tamarins were on their way to extinction, and now the campaign to bring these monkeys back to life is also focusing on preserving the forest in which they live, according to The Associated Press.

"There is no question in my mind that the golden lion tamarin is one of the best examples of international collaboration anywhere in the world," Russell Mittermeier, president of environmental group Conservation International and chair of the International Union for Conservation of Nature's group on primates, told the news source. "I cite it every couple of weeks. This is how you do this kind of thing."

The alarm was sounded in the 1970s after decades of the monkeys being exported. Once it was noticed that the population was dwindling, campaigns started a full charge to help the primate. In just four decades, the number of golden lion tamarins went from mere hundreds to 1,700, AP reports.

This monkey has also been selected to be the mascot of the Brazil 2016 Olympic Games. These primates may also benefit from a new project, which aims to plant 24 million trees in time for the games. Brazil officials hope this number will be enough to absorb the greenhouse gases that will be generated from the increased level of traffic and construction that will take place during the games. However, this goal is not a simple one.

"It's an ambitious goal, and it won't be easy," Marcia Hirota, of the environmental group the SOS Mata Atlantica Foundation, told the news outlet. "It's a challenge, but Rio has already cut down on deforestation. With this kind of public policy, Rio can become an example for other states that are in a more critical situation."

The next step to ensure the monkeys are safe from extinction is to fix the problem of their lack of habitat, which is where the new goal comes in. The safety of this monkey is key to the survival of the forest, which has 60 percent of the country's threatened species. The tamarin monkey is an umbrella species - so if it survives, many other species will also be able to. Not to mention, many of the country's biggest cities rely on the forest's rivers and springs for drinking water.

Those who want to talk about the recent efforts can make calls to Brazil using international calling cards

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