Science and Strategic Planning Unite to Enhance Conservation Success for Golden Lion Tamarins

Story shared by Lou Ann Dietz, Save the Golden Lion Tamarin 

Endangered golden lion tamarins (Leontopithecus rosalia). Photo credit: Brazilian Golden Lion Tamarin Association


Since its creation in 1992, the Brazilian NGO Associação Mico-Leão-Dourado (AMLD – golden lion tamarin association) has coordinated local, national, and international efforts to assure the long-term future of endangered golden lion tamarins (GLTs) in their native habitat, the lowland Atlantic Forest of Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil.  Over the years, AMLD brought the population back from the brink of extinction: a total estimated at 200 individuals in the early 1980’s to 3700 tamarins in 2018.  AMLD also works to ensure the existence of a block of connected habitat large enough to hold a population of GLTs that would be demographically and genetically viable in the long term.  AMLD and its partners follow the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation which combine conservation action and research in a continuous cycle including setting measurable goals based on the desired impact on the target species and its habitat, identifying threats to those targets, designing and implementing strategies to mitigate those threats, monitoring results and applying learning to adapt the strategic plan as appropriate to improve results.  Ian article recently published in PLOS Onethe AMLD research team reports how they use science-based computer modeling to establish measurable goals, the process they use to design and implement conservation strategies, how they use census data to evaluate progress, and adapt their plan.