Standing 50 centimeters tall and clothed in thick golden-orange fur, the golden lion tamarin is a species unique to the Atlantic Forest of Rio de Janeiro. Like the forest itself, the Leontopithecus rosalia population has been fragmented by encroaching ranch lands, infrastructure construction and agricultural activities throughout the São João river basin. (Re)connecting these scattered troupes of up to eleven specimens, presently confined to islands of intact vegetation, is key to ensuring the survival of this endangered species.
The project “Partnership: Forest Restoration for Golden Lion Tamarin Conservation (AMLD, in Portuguese), funded by ExxonMobil, will plant 20 thousand saplings of native Atlantic Forest tree species in Silva Jardim, contributing to the tamarin’s survival by expanding the available habitat. The restored area corresponds to that of roughly 14 football pitches combined.
Today, only three thousand golden lion tamarins are thought to exist in the wild. In addition to the marmosets, the project will also directly benefit the locals living in the environs, especially those working in tree nurseries, and, less directly, the region’s various towns and villages, which, thanks to the AMLD’s ongoing reforestation drive, will benefit from improved provision of ecosystem services.