"Marmoset" is the name commonly given to a number of small-bodied monkeys from South America that "whistle like birds and move like squirrels" - as depicted by the first europeans to observe them, about five centuries ago. The common marmoset and other species from the East of Brazil are among the better-known monkeys from the New World but, their relatives from the Amazonia, are among the less-known.
Apart of the smallest primate of the Americas, the pygmy marmoset, which occur across northern Amazonia, there are other 14 species of marmosets distributed all over the southern Amazonia in Brazil and in part of Bolivia and Paraguay. Currently, even the complete diversity of species are yet to be properly assessed in this group of monkeys. Consequently, their conservation status of the marmosets from southern Amazonia is poorly known and there is no response to protect their populations.
At the same time, the forests in southern Amazonia of Brazil have been suffering a large-scale destruction due to disordered agricultural expansion in the last decades and, more recently, due to construction of large infrastructure across well conserved forests. Not for nothing the southern Amazonia region is known as the “Arc of Deforestation” and, in this region, not even the federal conservation units are safe from reduction in area and in the level of protection.
And that is the problem: predatory destruction of the forest and scarcity of basic information that could support the effective conservation of marmosets and many other animals and plants in southern Amazonia. Actually, we are destroying the habitat of plants and animals very little known or even still unknown. In this scenario, effective measurements to protect the marmosets and their habitats in Amazonia are hampered. We simply don't know, for example, how severe can be the negative impacts of flooding a given area for a given species, in the case of dam building.
These are the reasons that led us to dedicate ourselves for establishing a framework for the conservation of southern Amazonian Marmosets and their forests. We are working to design effective conservation actions for these monkeys, and also investing in communication to raise their awareness of society for the protection of Southern Amazonian marmosets and forests. Biodiversity conservation is essential to protect the natural resources needed for our own survivorship.
Our 'Amazon Marmosets' project is funded and supported by the Conservation Leadership Program, and we work in institutions that also support us such as the National Institute of Amazonian Research, Evolutionary and Animal Genetics Laboratory of the Federal University of Amazonas and O Nincho Podcast.