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Red-Browed Amazon Parrot (Amazona rhodocorytha)

In Captivity


For over 30 years, RSCF has been working with the endangered Red-browed Amazon parrot (Amazona rhodocorytha). This species is a top priority for long-term captive breeding and management, from which a sustainable in-situ recovery effort is evolving. RSCF holds the only known breeding group in North America. From a founding captive population of just 11 individuals, RSCF's colony of red-brows is now 78, including second and third generation offspring from parents raised in captivity. In 2015 a milestone was achieved with the first fully parent-reared offspring joining the captive colony, proving that the instinctual reproductive and parental behaviors necessary for successfully rearing and fledging offspring are retained in hand-reared adults. We thank Higgins Premium Pet Foods for their long-term support of this project.


Our program partners in Brazil have also achieved captive breeding success from a group of confiscated Red-brows held at the Curitiba Zoo. In conjunction with IBAMA/ICMBIO (the Brazilian government wildlife authority), RSCF and partnering NGOs (Zoo Curitiba, Ideia Ambiental, and Parque Das Aves) seek to repatriate confiscated in situ and captive-bred ex situ Red-brows, and transfer title for all ex situ Red-brows to the Brazilian government in recognition of Brazil's governing authority and progressive conservation and law enforcement efforts. RSCF aims to return a core population of Red-brows to Brazil as necessary to complement an existing breeding and rehabilitation program.

In the Field


Field surveys to establish wild population estimates and habitat assessments are ongoing. Estimates of the remaining wild population of Red-brows number between 600-1,700 individuals. Habitat loss, fragmentation, and conversion to agriculture as well as collection for the pet trade are directly attributed to the species decline in the wild. Current in situ conservation efforts include: Survey to locate additional populations. Protect forests where the species occurs outside reserves in Rio de Janeiro. Effectively protect habitat and birds within reserves and further develop the captive-breeding population. Enforce anti-trafficking laws, especially on the roads connecting Monte Pascoal National Park with the rest of south Brazil (Snyder et al. 2000). Map the species' current distribution within its Extent of Occurrence. Identify priority areas for conservation purposes. Research dietary and nesting requirements. Estimate the species home range. Study the impact of forest fragmentation within its population. Implement an education program. ( L. Klemann-Júnior in litt. 2012). 


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Golden-Lion and Golden-Headed Tamarins (Leontopithecus rosalia, Leontopithecus chrysomelas)

RSCF has worked with lion tamarin recovery programs for over 30 years. These beautiful, squirrel-sized primates are endemic to the Atlantic Forest in Brazil and are critically endangered. Centuries of deforestation reduced numbers to a few hundred individuals in isolated forest fragments 80 km from Rio de Janeiro city. Intensive conservation action including reintroduction of zoo-born tamarins into forest fragments 1984–2000, increased numbers to about 3,700 in 2014. Beginning in November 2016, southeastern Brazil experienced the most severe yellow fever epidemic/epizootic in the country in 80 years. In May 2018, the first death of a golden lion tamarin due to yellow fever was documented. Population sizes were re-evaluated and compared to results of a census completed in 2014. Tamarin numbers declined 32%, with ca. 2,516 individuals remaining in situ. Tamarin losses were significantly greater in forest fragments that were larger, had less forest edge and had better forest connectivity, factors that may favor the mosquito vectors of yellow fever. The future of golden lion tamarins depends on the extent of additional mortality, whether some tamarins survive the disease and acquire immunity, and the potential development of a vaccine to protect the species against yellow fever. For more information, click here.

Jeremy Mallinson OBE, DSc (Hon), former Director of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, sadly passed away 2 February 2021.  He was a true ambassador for conservation of all four species of Lion Tamarins of Brazil. Before his passing, Jeremy wrote in The Biologist.: “This year marks 50 years since the first efforts to protect Brazil’s golden lion tamarins began. It has become one of the region’s most innovative and inspiring conservation stories." Click the link above to read the article in its entirety and here for a tribute from Save the Golden Lion Tamarin.

Pygmy Marmosets (Cebuella pygmaea)

RSCF is home to one of North Americas largest and oldest sustained breeding colony of pygmy marmosets. Pygmies are a small genus of New World monkey native to rainforests of the western Amazon Basin in South America. It is notable for being the smallest true monkey and one of the smallest primates in the world, at just over 100 grams. Tiny and highly intelligent, they live in extended family groups lead by a single breeding pair. The pygmy marmoset's IUCN conservation status is vulnerable. Due to deforestation, mining, and oil palm cultivation, the pygmy marmoset's habitat has decreased in size. The two biggest threats to the pygmy marmoset are habitat loss and the pet trade. 

RSCF's population has been part of a long-term study focusing on diet, husbandry, breeding and family dynamics including daily video monitoring of family groups and breeding pairs.  

Pygmy Marmoset at RSCF
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