By Hillary Ojeda
Peru’s titi monkey is a special primate species that may be lost within the next few years if deforestation and poaching continue.
New species are discovered almost every day across the globe. At the same time, species that the world holds dear continue to be lost, and at a rapid rate.
The titi monkey, also known as tocón, is a primate endemic to Peru and lives in a special habitat in the San Martín region of the Amazon. It is so specialized that it can only survive in that particular region of the jungle. Unfortunately that very same habitat is being threatened by hunting and deforestation, reducing it to 50% of what it used to be, according to Arnaldo Paredes.
With these threats invading and destroying the San Martín habitat, the titi monkey has become one of the 25 most endangered primate species in the world.
The organization, “Bosque Ojos de Agua” reports that a group of hunters have been capturing the titi monkey to make a profit from selling them as pets or food. Bosque Ojos de Auga is located in the Pucacaca district in San Martín where they say it is a dangerous job to protect the jungle. They told El Comercio that two years ago these poachers burned down facilities where researchers and tourists celebrated the titi monkey.
The hunters have released threats in the community, declaring they have no plans to stop poaching the titi monkey in the near future. Not only the titi monkey faces these poachers, but jaguars as well have been killed for their skin.
Authorities have taken no action to prevent these threats as not one person has faced criminal charges, according to El Comercio. The community only has Paredes, considered the leading protector of the forest, five of his friends and organizations like “Bosque” to rely on to protect the titi monkey.
In addition, in 2007 the “Proyecto Mono Tocón” organization was started to promote the protection of the unique primate only found in this part of the Peruvian jungle.
According to the National Program of Forests of the Ministry of the Environment, Peru lost 1,306,507 hectares of Amazonian forests between 2003-2013. The report details that San Martín itself represents 20% of that destruction which compares to the size of five Singapore’s and 30 Paris’s.