Instituto de Pesquisas Ecológicas

The Black Lion Tamarin Day will be celebrated in Brazil on February 28, for the first time. This small primate, whose scientific name is Leontopithecus chyrsopygus, is classified as “Endangered” in the international and Brazilian Red Lists of threatened species. Currently, it occurs only in Atlantic forest fragments in the western and southern portion of the Brazilian state of São Paulo, where it has an important ecological role.

Due to intense deforestation and fragmentation of its habitat, the population of the species has been reduced to about 1500 individuals. In fact, the black lion tamarin is so rare that it was not recorded for 65 years until its rediscovery in 1970. Fortunately, thanks to the conservation efforts of the socio-environmental and government agencies, today the black lion tamarin has a more promising future.

Like other primates, black lion tamarins act as sentinels (for example, their mortalities caused by yellow fever warn human populations of the presence of the virus), and they are also good seed dispersers, helping in the maintenance and regeneration of the forests where they live.

Because of these qualities and also due to the fact that it is restricted to a small area in the state of São Paulo, the black lion tamarin was designated the official mammal of the state in 2014.

Research for the conservation of the Black Lion Tamarin

IPE (Institute for Ecological Research) celebrates, in 2019, 35 years of service for the conservation of the black lion tamarin. The efforts have been concentrated in the Pontal do Paranapanema region, the westernmost tip of São Paulo state, and are carried out by members of the Black Lion Tamarin Conservation Program. In this region, field research on the behavior and health of the species are complemented by activities involving the community, environmental education and forest restoration, which guarantee the long-term survival of the species. IPE is responsible for obtaining scientific data that are used in public policies for the protection of this small monkey, such as the information used to create the Black Lion Tamarin Ecological Station, a federally protected area managed by the Brazilian government.

Another action important for the conservation of the black lion tamarin was the establishment of the largest reforested corridor of Brazil. As the Atlantic Forest in western São Paulo is extremely fragmented, the forest-dependent animals struggle to survive in small patches of suitable habitat, and virtually every subpopulation faces local extinction risk. One of the efforts led by IPE was to plant a native forest corridor that connects two large forested areas in Pontal do Paranapanema: the Black Lion Tamarin Ecological Station and the Morro do Diabo State Park. With 2.7 million trees, the corridor is approximately 20 kilometers long and helps the native animals to find shelter, food and reproductive partners.

The Atlantic Forest corridor, as it is called, is already sheltering several species of animals, including large mammals such as tapirs and jaguars, as attested by studies using camera traps. Use of the corridors by the black lion tamarins is being studied, but as the species uses hollows in old large trees as sleeping sites, which are not present in the young planted corridor yet, researchers from IPE are testing, in some areas adjacent to the corridors, if the tamarins would sleep inside artificial shelters. Monitoring of these artificial shelters is yielding promising results, as two groups of tamarins have been observed using the shelters. These results suggest that implementing artificial nest boxes in the planted corridors will ease the establishment of black lion tamarin populations there.

To celebrate the black lion tamarin day, IPE will promote several activities involving the local populace of Pontal do Paranapanema and also partners such as the Morro do Diabo State Park staff. The complete schedule will be available in the social media of @institutoipe.


There are four species of lion tamarins and they are only found in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil. The Golden Lion Tamarin (more popular, from the forest of Rio de Janeiro), the Golden-headed Lion Tamarin (from the state of Bahia), the Black-faced Lion Tamarin (occurring in a very small area in the states of São Paulo and Paraná), and the Black Lion Tamarin (from the interior Atlantic Forest of São Paulo state, especially in the western area).

Adult black lion tamarins weigh about 600 grams. Their body is covered by a long fur, predominantly black, except for the rump, which has an orangish color. They are called “lion tamarins” because of the little mane around the face.

They live in family groups containing from 2 to 8 individuals. Each group is composed of a dominant female, one or two reproductive males and the juvenile offspring, which remain in the group until they reach sexual maturity and disperse to form their own family groups. The female normally gives birth to twins once a year after a gestation period of approximately 4 months. The other members of the group help in raising the babies, until the juvenile can move by itself. Communication between the members is frequent and made through high-pitched whistles and chirps.

As they are territorial animals, each group uses an area, which can vary in size between 40 to 400 hectares. They are diurnal animals and during the night they sleep in tree hollows. When researchers study the behavior of the lion tamarins, they must locate the hollows used by the tamarins the day before so they can follow the group early on the next day.

Most of the diet of the black lion tamarin is composed chiefly of fruits, but they also eat tree sap, flowers, invertebrates and small vertebrates, such as frogs and nestlings. The main predators are birds of prey, boas, tayras and small cats.

On October 6th, Suzana Padua received the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award during an event at the University of Florida (UF), United States. The president of IPÊ was honored by the Council of Former Students of the Center for Latin American Studies (LAS) of the University, which recognizes former university students whose achievements over the years have had a significant impact in their field in a regional, state or national.

The award recognized the leadership role and service to the community and society of Suzana, as well as the significant achievements in his career, his history in training for conservation and environmental education through the foundation of IPÊ, the environmental education program and the ESCAS - School of Environmental Conservation and Sustainability.

With a master's degree from the University of Florida (UF) in 1991, focusing on environmental education and, later, a Ph.D. from the University of Brasília (UnB), in 2004, Suzana published more than 50 articles and guided 30 Master's his career to date. Because of actions that influenced the socio-environmental transformation and the lives of many students, professionals and members of the rural community, especially women, was recognized by 17 national and international awards. The work with her husband, Claudio Padua, developing pioneering graduate programs was inspired by the interdisciplinary training they received at the UF Latin American Studies Center and the Center's Conservation and Tropical Development (TCD) program.

"I am extremely happy for this award, which I share with the entire IPÊ team and our partners because we do nothing alone. The Center for Latin American Studies and TCD influenced Claudio and I tremendously. When we were setting up the short-term curriculum for IPÊ, Masters and even the MBA, we used our interdisciplinary experience at UF as the basis for what we wanted to offer. This is how social and environmental issues become inseparable, giving life more meaning and value", said Suzana.

Created in 2002 in Acre, the Extractive Reserve (Resex) of Cazumbá-Iracema occupies almost 40% of the territory of Sena Madureira. The area is home to 350 families who have fought and are struggling to conserve the forest and their chestnut trees, from which they derive their livelihood.

Four years ago, through the project Participatory Biodiversity Monitoring, carried out in partnership with the ICMBio (Chico Mendes Institute of Biodiversity Conservation), IPÊ came to further support the on-site conservation process. To this end, it develops training of monitors and workshops for the implementation and improvement of protocols for monitoring chestnuts. Check out VIDEO

With the project, the communities are the protagonist of your lives and create their own futures. The residents and extractivists collect data and know the time and the right way to collect the nuts, so that extractivism is carried out in a sustainable way.

This practice was the result of an integration between the traditional knowledge of the populations living in Resex and the learning with the courses of the project. Young people and adults are engaged to maintain the forest and chestnut trees.

"Our greatest legacy for Resex was to provide the exchange of knowledge and to bring even more information. The courses on chestnut tree management and how to apply the protocol to carry out monitoring were very important for the process of engaging people in the conservation of chestnuts. With information, they have greater care, they know the right time to cut and what to cut in the chestnuts, ensuring that the resource stays in this protcted area for longer", says Ilnaiara Gonçalves de Sousa, IPÊ's field researcher. The Participatory Biodiversity Monitoring is supported by USAID, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and ARPA.

The campaign for the Scholarship Fund of ESCAS/IPÊ (School of Environmental Conservation and Sustainability) begins today, September 10th. The proposal is to raise funds to enable new students interested in training conservation and sustainability the chance to study in one of the reference schools in the theme. Donate now!

The world face many socio and environmental challenges like loss of biodiversity and forests, high pollution and diseases. Young students in Brazil have transformative ideas for these challenges, but many don't have opportunity to develop it due to lack of resources to seek more knowledge and guidance. ESCAS - School of Environmental Conservation and Sustainability, is a place to them. With a Scholarship Fund, we will benefit students with education for sustainability to them change the world.


Hundreds of young students in Brazil have transformative ideas for the socio-environmental challenges in the world and many talented students have a great potential to pursue sustainability inside the world work. However, many of them do not have the opportunity to develop these ideas due to lack of resources to seek more knowledge and guidance. This project will offer 20 scholarships in ESCAS - School of Conservation and Sustainability, a place where the science is for and with the society.


ESCAS promotes socio-environmental and sustainability knowledge in Brazil through short courses, Professional Master in Conservation and Sustainability and MBA in Social and Environmental Business. It trained more than 6.4 thousand people since 1996 - more than 300 with scholarships. With a Scholarship Fund, we will promote this knowledge to more students, transforming them into professionals which promote innovative solutions that contribute to a fair, caring and sustainable Brazilian Society.

Long-Term Impact

With this campaign, we will start the ESCAS Scholarship Fund, which will be continuous from now. With it, we will amplify school capacity to give socio-environmental knowledge to more students in a long term. We aim to benefit 20 with scholarships. And this is only the beginning, a seed that can grow to benefit more. The proposal is empower a mass of highly qualified professionals in the socio-environmental field to revert the negative impact and socio-environmental losses for the past decades.



IPÊ annual report 2017. Bilingual edition (Portuguese / English), with projects, testimonials of beneficiaries and partners and what we have developed in favor of Brazilian biodiversity together with supporters, communities, donors, students and teachers from ESCAS, researchers and all those who help transform the socio-environmental reality in Brazil.
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