A Success Story of Forest Restoration: Fazenda Dourada Corridor

The wind blew, the cloud moved...and look what great news appeared! The forest corridor in the Fazenda Dourada is complete!

An exciting success story for conservation of the Golden Lion Tamarins (GLTs) can now be seen in recently available photos from Google Earth. After more than 40 years of work to ensure a future for this beautiful species, a most urgent remaining task is to ensure existence of enough connected, protected habitat for GLTs and the many other species that live in Brazil’s Atlantic coastal forest. This forest is highly fragmented and efforts are underway to link key fragments by planting native species to form connections between these “islands” of forest.

In 2007 a unique partnership of the Brazilian federal government; local and international organizations; and Save the Golden Lion Tamarin individual donors joined together for AMLD (Golden Lion Tamarin Association), SGLT’s partner organization in Brazil, to purchase a 100-hectare (247-acre) parcel of privately owned cattle pasture in what is called the Fazenda Dourada. This area adjoins one of the largest remaining forest fragments, the União Biological Reserve that was created by ICMBio in 1998 to protect nearly 3,000 hectares (7,400 acres) of GLT habitat. A population of GLTs lives in the Reserve, but was isolated from other forested areas with GLTs by cattle pastures and other deforested areas. It was soon determined that, although challenging, an important effort needed to be made to create a forested corridor between the União Biological Reserve and the newly purchased Fazenda Dourado (see maps).

In 2009 AMLD began the effort of planting native seedlings on this property and conducting the necessary monitoring and caring for the needs of the emerging forest. This involved a lot of time, people, expertise, and dedication of support and financial resources from both private and governmental entities.

However, as work to create the corridor progressed, there was a certain level of frustration among those so dedicated to this effort.  The images available on Google Earth from October 2014 showed that the forest was in an advanced recovery process, but with many gaps yet to be filled. It was NOT the result they wanted to share widely, even though it was known that the tamarins, as well as pumas, had already left clear signs that they were using the corridor to travel.

Early 2016 brought another frustration: the new image of Google had a huge cloud right over the planted area. Again, it was apparently not yet time to reveal the result of so much work. But just this April, a brand new image was released. And the result is SPECTACULAR! This can be seen by the chronological sequence in the pictures.

This area is expected to provide an expansion of the Biological Reserve itself, but this will involve continued efforts to facilitate this.  AMLD intends to donate the Fazenda Dourado for incorporation into the Reserve by ICMBio, and the hope is that this bureaucratic process will come to fruition before long.

The story of the Fazenda Dourado is a good example of how complex and lengthy a process it is to restore areas of the Atlantic Forest to connect forest fragments. Forest fragmentation is still our biggest challenge to save the golden lion tamarin from extinction.  It has now been demonstrated that it was worth such a giant and continuing effort. 

Fragmented forest patches before the corridor.

2007, when the land was purchased.

2011, after four years of growth.

2015, after eight years of growth.

2016... with a cloud blocking the view!

2016, showing a functioning cooridor connecting two previously fragmented forest patches!


Disney Conservation Fund Supports Our GLT Conservation Strategy

We were very excited to announce our partnership with Disney Conservation Fund in April. Their 20th anniversary project, "Reverse the Decline, Increase the Time" focuses on several species and projects, and SGLT/AMLD is honored to be one of their recipients. We wanted to highlight a few ways that Disney's Reverse the Decline supports GLTs in the wild:

AMLD's Translocation TeamSupport from the Disney Reverse the Decline program helps AMLD implement its 10 year plan to keep GLTs from extinction in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest.  AMLD’s plan has 10 strategies to counter threats to GLT survival.  The Disney grant supports several of these.  Disney support, for example, allows AMLD to carry out long-term monitoring of GLT population sizes and threats in four areas, and to move GLTs to meet genetic and demographic goals for each GLT population.  Science-based translocations to small and isolated GLT populations help maintain genetic diversity and reduce inbreeding until they can be connected to larger populations via planted forest corridors.



Local landowner on sustainable agroforestry plotDisney’s Reverse the Decline award helps AMLD implement its strategic plan in several ways.  For example, it enables AMLD to train local families in sustainable agroforestry practices.  Owners of some of these farms will plant agroforestry systems that serve as corridors connecting forest fragments.  Others will become involved in the commercial production of native tree seedlings needed for forest restoration in the region.  These activities contribute to restoration of GLT habitat as well as the reduction of two threats: forest fires and subdivision of rural properties.


The GLT is Featured on a Brazilian Stamp

The Golden Lion Tamarin is featured on a new Brazilian stamp issued in Rio de Janeiro yesterday commemorating 50 years of the IUCN Red List – the International List of Endangered Species.

The Golden Lion Tamarin stamp was issued at the opening ceremony of the 1st IUCN World Congress of Environmental Law taking place this week in Rio de Janeiro. The stamp honors the many individuals and organizations - governmental and non-governmental, Brazilian and international - who contributed over the past 30+ years to achieve the spectacular increase in the wild population of Golden Lion Tamarins, an endangered species that exists only in the Atlantic Rainforest of Rio de Janeiro state.   

Representing GLT conservation at the ceremony were Luis Paulo Ferraz, Executive Director of the Brazilian Golden Lion Tamarin Association (Associação Mico-Leão-Dourado) and Adelmar Coimbra Filho, a Brazilian scientist.  Coimbra Filho was the first to recognize the plight of GLTs in the 1960’s.  He initiated actions creating Brazil’s first Biological Reserve - Poço das Antas - to protect GLT habitat, and encouraged the international zoo community to breed the species in captivity.  Coimbra’s efforts eventually grew to become the Associação Mico-Leão-Dourado, whose mission is to assure the species has a future in perpetuity in its native habitat. 

“The creation of the Associação Mico-Leão-Dourado demonstrates an interesting path to inspire other species-focused efforts that protect habitats and ecosystems, including protected areas, ecological corridors, and integration into regional development” said Claudio Maretti, President of ICMBio (the Brazilian government agency responsible for endangered species). 


Coimbra & Claudio Maretti, President ICMBio


Visit GLTs in Their Native Rainforest in Rio de Janeiro!

The Associação Mico-Leão-Dourado (Golden Lion Tamarin Association - AMLD) is providing an opportunity for people who travel to Rio de Janeiro to see the Golden Lion Tamarins (GLTs) in the wild.  Proceeds from the tour package support AMLD’s activities to conserve golden lion tamarins in their natural habitat.  The tour also promotes forest-friendly income generation for the local community, thus contributing to long-term protection of GLT habitat.

The area where you can see GLTs is on a private farm in the municipality of Silva Jardim, a drive of about two hours from the Rio international airport.  The journey will take you across the Guanabara Bay toward the town of Silva Jardim.  Along the way, you will see first-hand how much of the Atlantic Forest has been cleared and the ongoing expansion of the busy highway from two lanes to four lanes.

The tour begins at a meeting point in the municipality of Silva Jardim.  AMLD conservation team members will accompany you and help you learn about our conservation program to save this endangered species in its native habitat. There will be ample opportunity to photograph these beautiful tamarins.

During an easy hike through the rainforest, AMLD staff will demonstrate how GLTs are tracked with radio telemetry equipment, ensuring your tour will see a number of tamarins habituated to human observers.  Take your camera and binoculars!  You will have plenty of time to watch and photograph a family group as they jump from branch to branch in the canopy overhead.  You may be lucky enough to see the mother and father carry babies – best months to see babies are November to December. This area is also good for birdwatching.

After viewing the tamarins, you will be transported to AMLD’s Education Center in the Poço das Antas Biological Reserve where you can see the exhibits and, if you wish, purchase GLT souvenirs such as t-shirts, caps, and more (all of which support AMLD’s GLT conservation program).  You will have an opportunity to meet additional AMLD staff members who will tell you about their conservation program to restore the forest and the tamarin population assuring this species has a future in the wild.

Afterward you will have the option to conclude your visit with a leisurely lunch of typical Brazilian cuisine served at a private reserve on a local farm, Reserva Particular do Patrimônio Natural Fazenda Santo Antonio dos Cordeiros 

Tours must be scheduled in advance.  A maximum of 20 people per day are allowed to visit the GLTs.

For reservations and information contact:

telephone 55-22-2778-2025 or 55-22-2778-1580

Note: The WHO (World Health Organization) recommends vaccination for yellow fever at least 10 days before travelling to tropical countries.  In addition to a passport valid for at least six months beyond your date of entry, Brazil requires a tourist visa for citizens from many countries.  Be sure to check with your nearest Brazilian Consulate for these requirements and allow plenty of time (at least a month or more) to secure a visa should you need one. 


GLTs in Baroque Art: a Monkey Mystery!

At Save the Golden Lion Tamarin, we have quite the eye for lion tamarins, but we were surprised to see one turn up in a painting currently at the Phillip’s Gallery in Washington, DC… in a European painting from 1625! 

In the original series of paintings titled The Five Senses (1617-1618), Jan Brueghel the Elder and Peter Paul Rubens created five vivid visualizations of the human senses. In each scene items and animals that represent aspects of each sense surround a woman. Brueghel was responsible for the landscapes, and Rubens added the figures. In 1625, Brueghel’s son, Jan Brueghel the Younger, duplicated the entire series, albeit removing and adding some details that we thought interesting. Can you spot the differences?

Jan Brueghel the Elder & Peter Paul Rubens - The Five Senses: Taste, 1618


Jan Brueghel the Younger - The Five Senses: Taste, 1625


It’s difficult to see, but at the right end of the table just after the swan, is a golden lion tamarin!  The GLT is missing in the 1618 version.

Close up of Jan Brueghel the Younger - The Five Senses: Taste, 1625


This is not the only example of a GLT making its way into a painting! Jan Brueghel the Elder included them in another of his paintings.

Jan Brueghel the Elder - Monkeys Feasting, 1621


How did these monkeys, especially the GLTs, make their way to Europe in the early 1600s? We can only assume these animals were part of the pet trade and were brought to Europe for a menagerie or private collection.

A special thanks to Michele De Shazo, Assistant Registrar for Visual Resources and Collection at the Phillip’s Collection, for her help in getting to the bottom of this monkey mystery!