Abstract # 9:

Scheduled for Thursday, June 19, 2008 11:00 AM-11:10 AM: Session 1 (Meeting Room 2DEF) Symposium

The Development of a Census Technique for Cotton-top Tamarins (Saguinus oedipus) in Colombia

A. Savage1, L. Thomas2, K. Leighty1, L. Soto3, J. Causado3 and F. Medina3
1Disney's Animal Kingdom, PO Box 10000, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830, USA, 2CREEM, University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews, Scotland, 3Fundación Proyecto Tití, Barranquilla, Colombia
     Cotton-top tamarins (S. oedipus) are a small primate endemic only to the tropical forests of the northwest region of Colombia. The survival of this highly charismatic endangered species continues to be threatened by large scale forest destruction and illegal capture for the pet trade. Efforts to develop effective conservation plans for primate species such as this require accurate population estimates. However, developing census techniques to reliably count small arboreal primates, like the cotton-top tamarin, that move quickly and silently through the forest has been a challenging task. To date, there has been no reliable estimate of the current population of cotton-top tamarins and there is very limited information available for other species of callitrichids. Based on observations made in the laboratory and zoological park setting, we have developed a technique that utilizes audio “playbacks” of vocalizations combined with traditional transect survey techniques to yield a robust method to accurately estimate the current cotton-top tamarin population. Not only did this technique yield the first population estimate for cotton-top tamarins, but it will likely yield robust estimates for wild callitrichid populations in the future.