The cotton-top tamarin (Saguinus oedipus
) is classified as “Critically Endangered” in the IUCN Red List. In the last 20 years 80% of the population has disappeared mainly due to deforestation. However, in the 70s and 80s this species was used greatly in biomedical research labs as the primary model for studies on the colonic adenocarcinoma.
Today deforestation is the main threat to tamarins’ extinction and most of the forest within their habitat distribution is destroyed for agricultural purposes, timber harvesting for the construction of houses and for charcoal production. Another important threat to their survival is the flooding of the forest for hydroelectric projects. One project flooded more than 7,000 hectares of primary and secondary forest of the Paramillo National Park, one of the last sanctuaries of this species of tamarin. Furthermore, local pet trade of this species is still active and causes further threats to the survival of the tamarins.
The efforts for the protection of these areas inhabited by the tamarins are essential to allow their future survival.