In the region of Rio de Janeiro, a highway cuts the forest in two and prevents certain animal species from moving within their territory. Fortunately, a green bridge in particular allows a species of monkey in danger of extinction to cross this important road. However, this species does not only have to cope with the reduction of its natural habitat.
A green bridge to reconnect the territory of primates
The Atlantic Forest is found along the Brazilian coast and covers an area of almost 100,000 km². It is a “biodiversity hotspot”, one of the 35 biogeographical zones in the world characterized by a significant wealth in terms of biodiversity plagued by human activities. In 2018, a British study showed that this area had already lost half of its mammals.
This forest is the only place where the golden lion tamarin, a small monkey related to marmosets, is found in the wild. This endemic species of the region is in danger of extinction according to the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). However, as the Reuters news agency explains, a highway near Rio de Janeiro cuts the forest in two and restricts the movement of this species. Environmentalists therefore built a bridge covered with vegetation over the main road to allow the primates to cross at their leisure.
The conservation of the endangered species
Luís Paulo Marques Ferraz is executive secretary of the Brazilian association Mico-Leão-Dourado. According to him, a population of two thousand golden lion tamarins should be able to benefit from an area of at least 25,000 hectares of forest. Unfortunately, the species has lost as much as 95% of its natural habitat due to advancing human developments such as cities, roads, fields and other pastures. The point is that without this plant bridge, some primates would be isolated from the rest of their friends. However, such a scenario would endanger the conservation of the species. The bridge in question, constructed accordingly, takes on the appearance of an extension of the forest. Thus, the monkeys do not hesitate to cross it in order to cover important areas.
Finally, you should know that protecting the golden lion tamarin is a real challenge. Indeed, in addition to the disappearance of its natural habitat, this species must also face an epidemic of yellow fever. Between 2014 and 2018, the species declined from an estimated 3,700 to 2,516 individuals, a loss of 32%. In some areas of the Atlantic Forest, such as the Poço das Antas Biological Reserve, this drop has reached 70%.