Guardians of the Canopy:

International NGOs Protecting Colombia’s Primates

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Swinging through Colombia’s vibrant rainforests, a multitude of primate species play crucial roles in maintaining ecological balance. From the playful Squirrel Monkey to the powerful Ursine Howler Monkey, these arboreal ambassadors face numerous threats, including habitat loss, illegal pet trade and unsustainable agriculture.

Yet, hope for their survival lies in the tireless efforts of international NGOs working alongside local communities.

Here are six such organizations leading the charge:


1. Primate Action League (PAL)

http://www.asoprimatologicacolombiana.org/

Established in 1997, PAL boasts a global presence, including Colombia. They focus on black-faced Spider Monkeys, white-bellied Spider Monkeys and common Woolly Monkeys, conducting research, monitoring populations and collaborating with local communities to protect forests and reduce conflicts. Their Cordillera Oriental Project tackles habitat fragmentation, aiming to create corridors for safe monkey movement.

Successes: Established protected areas, secured legal protection for primates, and educated communities on their importance.
Challenges: Limited funding, complex land ownership issues, and ongoing deforestation.
Funding: Donations, grants, and partnerships.
Contribute: Donate, volunteer, raise awareness about the primate trade.


2.   Proyecto Titi  (Bogotá)

https://www.proyectotiti.com/es-es/

Founded in 2002, this Colombian NGO, supported by international partners, focuses on the critically endangered cotton-top Tamarin (cotton-headed Saki). They conduct research, build artificial nesting boxes and educate communities on sustainable practices to reduce habitat loss and pet trade.
Their Tamari Project works with local women to create sustainable handicrafts, offering alternatives to primate capture.

Successes: Increased tamarin populations through nest box initiatives, empowered local communities and raised awareness through education programs.

Challenges: Securing long-term funding, countering the illegal pet trade and tackling habitat loss driven by agriculture.

Funding: Donations, grants, and ecotourism projects. Contribute: Donate, sponsor a tamarin nest box, and support their ecotourism programs.


3. Proyecto Mono Tití (Cartagena)

https://www.proyectotiti.com/es-es/Acerca-Del-Proyecto-Tit%C3%AD/About-Proyecto-Tit%C3%AD-es-ES

Operating since 2007, this Colombian NGO, backed by international organizations, focuses on the critically endangered Colombian Black Howler Monkey and the Brown Capuchin. They conduct research, patrol forests to prevent poaching and collaborate with communities on sustainable tourism initiatives. Their Howler Monkey Corridor project aims to connect fragmented habitats, ensuring safe passage for these primates.

Successes: Reduced poaching through community engagement, established camera trap networks and increased awareness among local communities.

Challenges: Balancing tourism with conservation, securing long-term funding and navigating complex land ownership issues.

Funding: Donations, grants and ecotourism projects. Contribute: Donate, sponsor a camera trap, and join their ecotourism program.


4. Neotropical Primate Conservation (NPC)

https://neoprimate.org/colombia/

Founded in 2016, NPC works across Latin America, including Colombia, focusing on various primates, including Squirrel Monkeys, Spider Monkeys and Woolly Monkeys. They conduct research, establish protected areas and work with local communities on sustainable forest management practices. Their Community-Based Conservation program empowers indigenous communities to become stewards of their primate-rich forests.

Successes: Created and manage protected areas, conducted extensive research on various primate species and facilitated community-based conservation initiatives.

Challenges: Securing long-term funding, addressing human-wildlife conflict and mitigating the impacts of climate change.

Funding: Donations, grants and partnerships with research institutions.
Contribute: Donate, sponsor a protected area, participate in citizen science projects.


5. ProAves (Cali)

https://proaves.org/

Established in 1985, ProAves focuses on bird conservation throughout Colombia however, also with a strong focus on primates like the Black-mantled Tamarin and various monkey species.
They create and manage protected areas, conduct research, and educate communities on the importance of these primates. Their Central Corridor project aims to connect critical habitats for monkeys and other species.

Successes: Established and manage over 100,000 hectares of protected areas, conducted extensive research on monkeys and raised awareness through education programs.
Challenges: Balancing the needs of different stakeholders, securing long-term funding and navigating complex land ownership issues.
Funding: Donations, grants and ecotourism projects.
Contribute: Donate, sponsor a protected area, participate in citizen science projects.


6. Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)

https://colombia.wcs.org/

Founded in 1995, WCS has a global reach, including Colombia, where they focus on various primates, as well as the critically endangered brown Spider Monkey. They conduct research, monitor populations and work with local communities on sustainable resource management practices. Their Madidi National Park Project safeguards a critical habitat for monkeys and other biodiversity.

Successes: Supported the creation of protected areas, conducted groundbreaking research on primates and empowered local communities through sustainable development initiatives.


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