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Updates from Proyecto Tití

Titi Tidbits October 2017 Edition

A cotton-top tamarin field biologist lives an exciting life.  They trek through the forest looking for tamarins, all while avoiding the biting insects and other surprising encounters with wildlife. They spend countless hours observing the tamarins, helping to unlock the complexity of their life in the forest, and make new discoveries that help us create the best strategies to protect cotton-tops and their forest home. These are just some of the important contributions our hard-working and dedicated individuals do each and every day.

 In the rainy season, their work becomes so much more challenging. This is the time of year when collecting information and samples from our cotton-tops requires some additional skill. For example, our biologists collect daily fecal samples so that we can measure hormones in the feces and understand the factors that influence reproduction. With the rainy season, many of the forest plants are using their abundant energy to grow large leaves and produce tasty fruits. The tamarins love to eat the fruit, producing feces that our researchers collect and study. And though the rain brings fruit, it also brings floods. These forest floods make trekking through the terrain even more treacherous than before. Everyone is very careful as they traverse the flooded paths, doing their best to avoid tripping on the submerged roots and tree trunks. It requires some extra skill and agility to collect fecal samples when wading through a foot of water!

Why does every fecal sample matter?  With help of our collaborators from Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment, we are studying the hormonal cycles of female cotton-top tamarins to understand what factors influence their ability to conceive and maintain healthy pregnancies.  Early in our studies we found that most infants were born between February-April.  However over the years, this pattern has changed. Why? We began to look into this. 

We have found that rainfall, which causes the trees to begin producing fruit, is an important factor in determining when females will conceive. Rainfall patterns have continued to change throughout the years, and it appears that it can influence when cotton-top tamarins are born. Oh, the things you can learn from poop!

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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.