Blond titi monkey (Callicebus barbarabrownae)
Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 212527289
Blond titi monkey populations’ size in the Chapada Diamantina National Park, Brazil
This project aims to estimate the abundance of the Critically Endangered blond titi monkey in the only strictly protected area the species is known to occurs, the Chapada Diamantina National Park, in Brazil.
The blond titi monkey inhabits forests in the Caatinga biome, Northeastern Brazil. Though Caatinga is commonly known as a dry, cactus-rich vast scrubland, it wasn't always like this. Caatinga means "white forest" in the indigenous Tupi language: the dry forests were the main vegetation in this region, heavily changed by human activities (63%). Only 7% of the Caatinga is covered by protected areas, and 94% of the region has moderate to high desertification risk by land use and climate change.
Discovered only 30 years ago, the blond titi has been considered highly threatened to extinction by IUCN and Brazilian Red Lists. Titi monkeys (subfamily Callicebinae) are difficult to visually detect because they are cryptic and shy, living in territorial, small groups (3 adults in average). However, titi monkeys emit loud calls for intergroup communication and respond vocally to playback calls, and that is how we shed light on blond titi distribution and abundance.
In a previous project financed by The Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, we used playback sampling to find the species is more widespread and abundant than previously known and confirmed its occurrence in a strictly protected area (Alonso et al., in press). We also presented the species' first accurate estimate of a population size: 273 adult blond titis in a 221‐km2 area in Boa Vista do Tupim, Bahia state (Coelho et al., 2020). However, we had also bad news: the remaining few forest cover is still decreasing (11% loss from 2005 to 2016), and human occupation keeps growing extremely fast in the species' range (67% increase from 2005 to 2016; Alonso et al., in press).
To estimate the number of individuals in protected areas is a key target in the blond titi Conservation Action Plan. Knowing the population size occupying different areas inside the Chapada Diamantina National Park is crucial for the park management and regional planning to promote connectivity of the remaining Caatinga forests. The results of this project are also intended to raise public awareness to the conservation of blond titi monkeys and its habitats, the "white forests" that we much need in their original place.
Fieldwork is ongoing and partial results can be seen in Figures 2 and 3 in Project Documents below.
Links and References
Chapada Diamantina National Park
Alonso et al. (in press)
Alonso AC, Coelho IP, Marques E, Valença-Montenegro MM, Beltrão-Mendes R, Printes RC & Jerusalinsky L. (in press). On the occurrence of the endangeredblond titi monkey (Callicebus barbarabrownae): reassessment of occupied areas and minimum population size. International Journal ofPrimatology.
Coelho et al. (2020)
Conservation Action Plan of Primates in Northeastern Brazil