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!


Disney Conservation Fund Includes GLTs in Its New Initiative to Protect the Planet

Disney Conservation Fund (DCF) launches initiative to reverse the decline of threatened species and increase the time kids spend in nature by providing grants to programs around the world


Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  In honor of its 20th anniversary, the Disney Conservation Fund (DCF) today announced a targeted philanthropic commitment to help protect the planet by collaborating with leading nonprofit organizations to help threatened wildlife and inspire a lifelong love for nature in young people. The new initiative, called “Reverse the Decline, Increase the Time”, is aimed at reversing the decline of 10 threatened species and increasing the time kids spend in nature to inspire them to care for the planet. The golden lion tamarin, a tiny endangered monkey found in Brazil’s Atlantic coastal forest, Rio de Janeiro state, is one of the monkey species selected for support by the DCF initiative.  DCF’s investment in Save the Golden Lion Tamarin (a U.S. Public Charity) and its Brazilian sister organization Associação Mico-Leão-Dourado significantly improves the chances of implementing a strategic plan that will keep golden lion tamarins safe from extinction.  For more information, visit

Descendants of reintroduced zoo-born Golden Lion Tamarins living freely in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest, Rio de Janeiro state. Photo credit: Andreia Martins, Associação Mico-Leão-Dourado

“We congratulate the Disney Conservation Fund for 20 years of supporting conservation around the world and for their recognition that reversing the decline of endangered species requires long-term commitment of multiple partners, comprehensive strategic planning, and a focus on measurable results,” said Lou Ann Dietz, president, Save the Golden Lion Tamarin. “Disney’s support allows us to move forward with a strategic plan to conserve golden lion tamarins, including restoration of the tamarin population and its habitat, as we work with local communities to combat the threats of habitat destruction.” 

It is our hope that our work, including collaboration with DCF’s “Reverse the Decline, Increase the Time” initiative, will inspire people to care about the nature and protect the planet that we call home for generations to come.  



The 2015 Track-A-Tamarin Campaign raised nearly $5000 in its first year!

Thanks to generous contributions from our supporters, Save the Golden Lion Tamarin raised $4,581.25 to help track tamarins in their Atlantic Forest habitat in Brazil! These funds will be used to purchase new equipment and rehabilitating older devices. This tracking equipment is essential for our field managers in Brazil to monitor GLT populations, locate tamarins for research and ecotourism, and detect threats to the habitat.

Thanks to all of our 2015 supporters, especially:

  • Jeff Taylor and Casey Robinson, who included donations to SGLT in their wedding registry, and raised nearly $600 for Track-a-Tamarin by doing so!
  • The Georgia chapter of the American Association of Zoo Keepers, who donated close to $1000 for Track-A-Tamarin! They chose to name a GLT in the wild Georgia.
  • The Brandywine chapter of the American Association of Zoo Keepers who donated over $500 for Track-A-Tamarin! Their total donations to SGLT totaled over $1000, and they chose to name a GLT in the wild Tango.
  • And thanks to Holohil, the company who supplies our telemetry equipment, who generously donates $1000 per year!

We’re also excited to announce the kick off of the 2016 campaign! We’ve already received $1,500 in donations, and we’re looking forward to besting last year’s total as we move towards our annual goal of $10,000. For more information on the Track-A-Tamarin campaign, click here.



Zoo and Golden Lion Tamarin Communities Unite to Save Brazil’s Endangered Species Legislation

Brazil’s newly minted Endangered Species Legislation just faced a severe challenge of which few people were aware.  In 2015, Brazilian Senator Ronaldo Caiado drafted bills designed to revoke Brazil’s 2014 Ministry of the Environment Endangered Species Legislation.  Caiado is the Senate leader of the representatives of the “Ruralistas”, powerful wealthy landowners who are against regulations they feel would negatively impact agribusiness. Votes on the bills were to take place just before Carnaval, 2016 (a 4-day national celebration). Made aware of the potential vote at the last minute, Brazil’s Associação Mico-Leão-Dourado (AMLD) and partners mobilized social media to focus public attention on the problem. On 4 Feb 2016, Caiado withdrew the proposals in the face of mounting national and international public pressure. This is a significant victory for Brazil, for the many people who worked hard to make Brazil’s 2014 Endangered Species Legislation “world class”, and for the planet.

What was at stake?

If the 2014 legislation had been revoked, the 2003 Endangered Species Legislation would have been in force again for terrestrial animals including the four species of Lion Tamarins.  Brazil’s 2014 Legislation is a huge improvement over its 2003 Endangered Species Legislation.  Evaluation of species for the 2014 Legislation took five years (77 workshops) to complete and involved 1,383 specialists from 200 institutions.  The 2014 Legislation applies to each species the specific category (Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable etc.) used by IUCN, the world authority on categorizing endangered species.  These categories are assigned based on field data such as number of individuals, population trends and geographic range.  The 2003 Legislation was based on the opinions of local experts and assigned one category: Endangered.  The 2003 Legislation included 298 terrestrial animals; the 2014 Legislation lists 698 terrestrial animals.  The larger number in 2014 reflects the significant progress made in understanding the status of Brazil’s fauna and some changes in category: some improved, as was the case for Golden Lion Tamarins (moved from critically endangered to endangered), and many others are new additions.  Also, the 2003 List has several important omissions: Harpy Eagle, Amazon River Dolphin, Pampas Deer and Tapir among others. In summary, reverting to the 2003 Legislation would have endangered the conservation progress made during the past decade in Brazil, and would have put at risk the futures of many species on one or both Red Lists.

How was the crisis averted?

On 28 January 2016, ((O)) Eco (the non-profit environmental news service of a Brazilian NGO that prides itself on having no connection with political parties, corporations, or any other interest groups) sounded the alarm that Caiado’s proposals to revoke the 2014 Endangered Species Legislation would be voted on soon by the Brazilian Congress.  A day later, Luis Paulo Ferraz of Associação Mico-Leão-Dourado (AMLD) forwarded the message to national and international partners worldwide. On 1 February, colleagues at the Brazilian Association of Zoos and Aquariums and Parque das Aves developed an on-line petition in Portuguese, English and Spanish shared throughout Brazil and around the world via social networks.   As of this writing (Feb. 10), the petition has been signed by nearly 11,000 people, 90% of them Brazilians.  Caiado withdrew his proposals and announced that after speaking with environmentalists and representatives of the agribusiness sector he will hold Senate public hearings with members of the Agriculture and Environment Ministries to address this issue.

Lessons learned?

  • AMLD’s speaking out with Golden Lion Tamarin photos and logo made a difference, lending credibility to the campaign.  In two public statements on his own Facebook page Senator Caiado assured the Brazilian public that GLTs specifically would remain protected by the 2003 Legislation.  Several Brazilian NGOs mentioned AMLD’s endorsement of the on-line campaign.  AMLD and partners’ work to save GLTs is respected in Brazil.  Credibility matters.


  • Social media and personal contacts were more influential than the formal media and large NGOs.  TV, newspapers and their sites paid little attention to this potential crisis.  Ditto for the large international NGOs that lack the flexibility to act at the speed of today’s social media.  This potential crisis was averted due to a few individuals perceiving the problem, identifying effective ways the public could act, and quickly spreading the word through their social media networks.  In this case the entire sequence of events occurred over a period of only 8 days, concluding only 2 days before the beginning of Carnaval.


  • Finally, this is a useful example of why AMLD must continue on the very long term to monitor for new threats and be prepared to mobilize its wide net of partnerships and accumulated experience to avert crises like this one.  If Caiado’s proposals had passed, and they still may, we might have lost decades of work to keep Lion Tamarins safe from extinction.

How you can help:

  • Your tax-deductible donation to Save the Golden Lion Tamarin is a great investment in the future of endangered species.  Your support is critical to make sure the Associação Mico-Leão-Dourado can continue to coordinate on-the-ground efforts to save Golden Lion Tamarins in their native habitat in Rio de Janeiro, as well as to continue to monitor new threats that arise and mobilize partners to effectively address them:Donate Here


  • The coalition of Brazilian environmentalist organizations defending the Brazilian Endangered Species List requests that both concerned Brazilian and international colleagues continue to sign and circulate the petitions below.  They remain an important tool in a process involving public consultation and possibly Congressional debate.




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