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 European naturalists to observe them, about five centuries ago. The common marmoset and other species from the East of Brazil are among the better-known primates form Neotropical region but, their relatives from the Amazonia, are among the less-known.
In addition to the smallest primate of the Americas which occurs across northern Amazonia, the pygmy marmoset, there are 15 species of marmosets distributed all over the southern Amazonia in Brazil, and in part of Bolivia and Paraguay chaco. Currently, even the species diversity is yet to be properly assessed in this group of monkeys and the species conservation status is poorly known – there is no response to protect their populations.
At the same time, the forests in southern Amazonia have been destructed in large-scale due to disordered expansion of agricultural and urban areas in the last decades and, more recently, due to the construction of large infrastructures across well conserved forests. Not for nothing the southern Amazonia region is known as the “arc of feforestation” and, in this region, not even the protected areas are safe from forest reduction and degradation due to illegal mining, logging and settlement.
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, people 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 in a given marmoset population when the forest is flooded as a consequence of a dam construction.
These are the reasons that led us to dedicate ourselves for designing and 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 the awareness of society towards the protection of marmosets and the Amazonia. 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 Amazon Researches, Animal Genetics and Evolution Laboratory at the Federal University of Amazonas, National Institute of Space Research and O Nicho Podcast.