No Time To Monkey Around: Israeli Group Saves Endangered Peruvian Ape
Two Israeli researchers are behind a global campaign to rescue the last remaining yellow-tailed woolly monkeys of Peru, by allowing donors to purchase plots of land the monkeys inhabit.
Considered one of the world’s 25 most endangered Primates, yellow-tailed woolly monkeys are among the rarest monkeys on earth. As their habitat began to slowly disappear in the forests of South and Central America, their number dropped dramatically and the creatures are now threatened with extinction.
But as one of the Israeli researchers recently wrote, “saving these monkeys would make us more human.” And that’s exactly why TiME, an Israeli-founded organization, is raising money – to preserve their habitat in Peru.
In recent years, the only place where the population of yellow-tailed woolly monkeys increased has been El Toro, in the Amazonas region of Peru. There, their population increased by 30 percent, thanks to the intensive efforts of wildlife experts with the Neotropical Primate Conservation (NPC).
But the El Toro habitat is located on privately owned lands, and pressure is mounting to replace these forests with commercial farms. To avoid this, Israel’s “TiME” (This is My Earth) launched a crowd-funding campaign, allowing donors from all over the world to purchase these lands and protect the monkeys.
“In order to ensure a safe future for this species, it is absolutely critical to create a reserve for the yellow-tailed woolly monkeys, to ensure their survival,” TiME said in a statement.
So far, the crowd-funding campaign – run through Indiegogo’s “generosity” platform – has raised $14,000 of $25,000, with one more week to go. This initial amount would be enough to purchase about 70 hectares of land, and a total of $100,000 could help the group buy more land in the area (donations are also accepted on TiME’s website).
“By saving monkeys, our species shows that we humans can do better”
Founded last year by Israelis Prof. Alon Tal of Tel Aviv University and Dr. Uri Shanas of Haifa University, TiME is a nonprofit organization comprised of environmentalists and scientists from various countries, working together to halt the sharp decline in global biodiversity.
Environmental activist Tal is also the founder of Israel’s Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, and the co-founder of EcoPeace, among other organizations.
The Peruvian monkey is just one campaign TiME is currently running, with additional campaigns focusing on wildlife in Belize and Kenya. Donors vote on which project they’d like to focus on every year, and the Peruvian monkey was voted the most important for the coming year.
“Humans increasingly realize how much of our DNA we share with the animals on this planet,” Tal recently wrote in a Huffington Post column. “We also must learn to share critical places, like the El Toro forest in Peru, with the only other creatures with which we share creation… By saving monkeys and their home, our species shows that we humans can do better.”
Photos and video: TiME/Uri Shanas, Platyrrhinus,