Golden-bellied capuchin project
The rain forests of Brazil are disappearing – and with it the capuchin monkeys
The golden-bellied capuchin is one of the most critically endangered species of primates. Its natural habitat in the Atlantic coastline rainforests of Brazil is constantly in decline due to the spread of large cities such as Rio de Janeiro. The circulation area of the extremely intelligent capuchin monkeys originally extended over large parts of the Brazilian state of Bahia.
The rainforest is being decimated at such an alarming rate due to massive cattle breeding and the timber industry that only island-like fragments are being left. No genetic exchange is taking place within the individually isolated capuchin groups as a result and this will eventually lead to the extinction of the golden-bellied capuchin in the long term.
A bridge-building conservation project to maintain the species
The golden-bellied capuchin project, in which Tierpark Berlin plays a part, is based on two pillars: Firstly, the breeding in the zoological gardens should help to increase the number of zoo-born animals returning into the wild of Brazil, therefore increasing the overall numbers in the wild. Secondly, research into the golden-bellied capuchin and their habitat requirements should take place locally in those remnants of the rainforest that still exist. The aim of the project as a whole is to protect the remainder of the rainforest and to create corridors, through which the capuchin groups are able to find common ground and to initiate genetic exchange once again.
It's worth knowing that all of the golden-bellied capuchin in the zoos remain the property of Brazil. Moreover, it is the duty of every zoo who wants to have the pleasure of keeping these primates, to actively participate in the conservation of these animals in Brazil by providing financial support – it's quite clearly a point of honour!