Proyecto Titi | Conserving Colombia's Wildlife
Proyecto Tití:
Conserving the
Cotton-top Tamarin
in Colombia
Cotton-top Tamarin


Welcome to our media page! This is where we showcase articles on our field work, education programs, the artisans, and their products. Check back on a regular basis to see what articles have been added!

Movie Produced by Purple Cow for Proyecto Titi (Long version)

Movie Produced by Purple Cow for Proyecto Titi (Short version)


Click here to read the article in El Universal

En Los Límites cambiaron el Tití por bolsas plásticas
Check out this article at featuring eco-mochilas and the ASOARTESANAS. (Article in Spanish)

Click here to read the article in Texture Magazine

A World of Change
Dr. Savage and our eco-mochila project are featured in this sidebar of a texture magazine article on social entrepreneurship.




Click here to read the article in Wildlife Magazine.

Punk Rock Primates
Check out this fun article in the BBC's wildlife Magazine, all about cotton-top tamarins!





Click here to read the article in ADN Barranquilla

Asserín y Esteriércol Nueva lena Ecológica
An article about our titi leña project in ADN Barranquilla.

Click here to read the article in El ESpectador

Tras los pasos del tití cabeciblanco
An article about the conservation status and threats to cotton-top tamarins published in one of Colombia's national newspapers.

Click here to read the article in Catorce 6

La construcción de un aeropuerto en la Costa Atlántica amenaza al Tití cabeciblanco
In the April 23, 2010 edition of CATORCE 6 there is an important article that describes the impact that the proposed airport will have on cotton-top tamarins and wildlife in the area.

Click here to read the article by David Dudenhoefer

Colombia's Critically Endangered Cotton-Top Tamarins Inspire Savage Devotion
Read the article that highlights Proyecto Titi.

Read the Nature Conservancy article

Cotton-top tamarins featured on The Nature Conservancy's Website
Neighboring ranchers here in northern Colombia believe, quite frankly, that the property where I’m standing is a mess: There are too many trees and way too many vines. It’s too messy. Too unkempt. Too…wild. (Click on the link above to read the full article).

Read the El Tiempo article

Eco-mochilas Featured in Colombian Newspaper "El Tiempo"
On June 6th Proyecto Titi's eco-mochila program was featured in the Colombian newspaper "El Tiempo." Follow the link above to read the article (in Spanish).

Visit the IUCN's International Women Environmental Entrepreneurs Fair website

International Women Environmental Entrepreneurs Fair
Dr. Anne Savage was recently selected to participate in the International Women Environmental Entrepreneurs Fair. At the fair they will have the chance to network with other green entrepreneurs and showcase eco-mochilas!

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Read the article in National Resource Defense Council's magazine On Earth

How to Save a Monkey
Delve into Wendee Holtcamp’s article on Proyecto Tití’s history and success and discover how education and economics play crucial roles in protecting endangered species such as the cotton-top tamarin. This article recounts the cotton-top tamarins’ past and present plight while detailing Anne Savage’s development of Proyecto Tití. Learn how entrepreneurship and conservation work hand-in-hand to simultaneously help local communities and save Colombia’s most endangered primate!

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Plenty Magazines features our Eco-mochila program!

Mama’s Got a Brand New Bag
Colombian women recycle plastic bags to save an endangered monkey.
By Melissa Mahony

While fashion designer Anya Hindmarch’s “I’m not a plastic bag” tote made disposable plastic bags ‘so last season’, a group of Colombian women are bringing them back in style—by recycling them. The women travel door-to-door through their village of Los Limites to collect plastic bags, cut them into strips, and crochet them into more durable purses and beach bags, called mochilas. And they are doing it all for an endangered monkey.

Weighing in at less than a pound, the cotton-top tamarin, or titi, may be small, but the species is running out of space. Deforestation for fuel, cattle grazing, and slash-and-burn agriculture is pushing the primates into smaller and smaller portions of northwestern Colombia’s dry forests, the only place this snowy-maned monkey lives in the wild. Spanish for “knapsack,” the mochilas bring in around $6,000 annually to Proyecto Titi, an organization working with local peoples to preserve the cotton-top’s habitat and provide economic alternatives to catching the tamarins to sell as pets.

“Everyone in the community is involved. The kids help collect the bags, and the men will even crochet,” says biologist Anne Savage, director of Proyecto Titi. But it’s the women, she says, who are leading the effort.

Fifteen women started the mochila-making cooperative, which Savage says has grown to more than 100 members. The group has produced 7,000 mochilas and recycled nearly 700,000 bags since 2004. Each mochila typically consists of about 120 tightly woven plastic bags.

“People want to do the right thing, but if they don’t have any way to feed their families, they are going to be forced to go in and hunt tamarins for the pet trade or cut down trees,” says Savage. “If you give them alternatives, they are going to do the right thing.”

These alternatives include eco-mochilas, clay cook stoves that burn less wood than open- pit fires, a school that teaches more sustainable farming practices, and an anti-slingshot campaign for the kids.

Baby tamarins ride piggyback on their parents and older siblings as they swoop through the trees. To collect young tamarins for the pet trade, hunters, who are often children, use slingshots to bean an adult tamarin to the ground and take the baby from its back. To discourage this practice, Proyecto Titi has partnered with Fundacion Colombia, an organization aiding disadvantaged youths, to offer locally made plush tamarin toys in exchange for slingshots.

“When you keep them as pets you end up doing a real injustice to the species,” says Savage. Although breeding programs for the primate exist in zoos, these tamarins would have difficulty surviving outside of captivity. Cotton-tops were declared endangered in 1973 after about 30,000 were exported for biomedical research. Now, only a few thousand titis remain in the wild.

And that wild habitat is only getting smaller, which is why The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is negotiating with the regional environmental authority and other local stakeholders to purchase and protect 2,500 acres within the cotton-top tamarin’s range.

“Proyecto Titi has done a lot of research to help us identify patches of habitat for the titi,” says Aurelio Ramos, director of TNC’s Northern Tropical Andes program. By the end of next year, Ramos hopes to work with the area’s cattle ranchers on a conservation plan for 12,000 acres of tropical dry forest. “They do good local work with a couple of the communities,” says Ramos, “with these bags that they are selling.”

While the biggest market for the bags so far has been for giveaway tote bags at business conferences, eco-mochilas are becoming more popular with tourists. Last November, local artisans from Nicaragua, Panama and Costa Rica came to Colombia to learn to crochet trash. Now Caribbean women take plastic bags from their beachside communities, cut them into strips, and weave them into bags. But they do it for turtles, which often eat or suffocate within the discarded plastic floating in the ocean.

"For conservation to be effective it's not going to be me," Savage says. "It's not going to be my team. It's going to be everyone."

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