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Titi Tidbits: May Edition

Titi Tidbits: May Edition

Cotton-top tamarins have a tendency to steal our hearts, with their fluffy hair-dos and charming personalities. One such tamarin, rose to become an ambassador and a beloved symbol of conservation efforts to save a species and the tropical dry forest they call home.

Tamara, the oldest cotton-top tamarin in the wild and the most photographed in the world, was last spotted in March. Having been featured in National Geographic, on Colombian television, and even on the big screen in Magia Salvaje (the most viewed film in Colombia), her legacy will live on for generations to come. 
"Támara was a superstar!” said Rosamira Guillen, Executive Director of Proyecto Titi. “Her story and her beautiful face touched many hearts as she helped us spread our conservation message around the world." 

Born on July 4th, 2000, to the proud parents of Sara and Raul, Tamara was one of the first cotton-top tamarins to be habituated to humans, allowing researchers to witness and record her life in a way that had not been possible before. 
As the longest reigning dominant female in the wild, Tamara was an outstanding mom and family member. Surviving droughts and even a forest fire, her family has continued to thrive in their forest home, thanks to her guidance and resourcefulness.  

Throughout her lifetime, Tamara gave birth to 27 babies (12 sets of twins and 3 singletons). Used to the presence of humans, she provided the opportunity for teams in the field to study all of her infants, learning new information about the lives of these petite primates and their amazing parenting skills.    

“Tamara was truly a special cotton-top, one I have known since she was in her mother’s belly.  I have watched her grow from an infant into one of the most successful dominant females, becoming a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother to many cotton-top tamarins.  Her strength and tenacity to survive as the oldest tamarin in the wild will be hard to beat.  We learned so much about her, and from her, in the 16 years we shared together.” - Dr. Anne Savage, Conservation Director,  Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment and founder of Proyecto Tití. 

Her spirit and charisma sparked curiosity, excitement, and wonder among the hearts of school children and international visitors in Colombia and around the globe.

Tamara was an amazing teacher to the children of our educational programs,” said Johanna Vega, Head of Education Programs for Proyecto Tití. “Each time we brought students to the forest, Tamara taught them about herself, her family, and her species.  She left a lasting impact on the students that visited her.  We will always remember her contributions to our team, and we will miss her terribly.  

Perhaps the biggest contribution to Tamara’s legacy is hope. In order to protect nature, first, we must connect with it. Tamara’s image has become the symbol of a movement to conserve this critically endangered primate and their habitats. Hope brings people together, gives them the determination to work to reverse the decline of critically endangered species and the belief that our planet’s wildlife is worth saving. That, collectively, we can leave behind a better legacy for Tamara’s children and grandchildren, and our own children and grandchildren as well.


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Position Statement

Proyecto Tití's Position Statement on nonhuman primates in the Media

WHEREAS live nonhuman primates are often portrayed in the media as frivolous caricatures of humans, dressed in clothing and trained to do tricks on command for the amusement of the general public but with disregard to the welfare and conservation consequences; and
WHEREAS many nonhuman primates used as actors in movies and television and as photo props for commercials and greeting cards are often removed from their mothers shortly after birth and are denied opportunities for normal social and psychological development; and
WHEREAS the use of nonhuman primates in this industry often involves aversive techniques to maintain control of these animals; and
WHEREAS the inappropriate portrayal of nonhuman primates inaccurately conveys their biology and conservation status and may affect public attitudes including those in range countries where interactions with these animals have potential damaging consequences; and
WHEREAS evidence suggests that many nonhuman primate species are susceptible to many of the pathogenic infections that afflict humans and the transmission of infection can occur in both directions, especially in performing circumstances in which primates are in direct proximity with public audiences including children and the elderly,
Proyecto Titi Inc. and Fundacion Proyecto Titi therefore opposes the use of nonhuman primates as performers, photo props or actors.