Leontopithecus chrysomela numbers have been significantly depleted over the past several years. The remaining wild population, which exists only in a small region of Brazil, includes a total of 200 animals. The main problems for L. chrysomela are habitat destruction and illegal live capture. Over the past several years, these tamarins have been captured for use in zoological parks, laboratories, and the pet trade. However, this is a small problem compared to the habitat destruction this species has been faced with (Mitchell and Erwin 1986, Nowak and Paradiso 1983).
Only 1-5% of Brazil's original Atlantic forest is left standing. Deforestation has occurred heavily over the past five years to provide lumber and space for agriculture, livestock pasture, and housing development (Mitchell and Erwin 1986, Nowak and Paradiso 1983).
There are currently a few conservation projects in effect in Brazil. Una Biological Reserve is a protected 11,000 ha area within L. chrysomela range. However, reports indicate that this amount of space is still inadequate to promote a recovery of the population. The United States, in conjunction with the World Wildlife Federation and many smaller Brazilian institutions, has had a conservation program running since 1979. However, population size has declined dramatically since then. A third conservation effort, the Rio de Janeiro Primate Center, has a captive breeding colony of L. chrysomela. However, the colony is made up of only 25 animals (Mitchell and Erwin 1986, Nowak and Paradiso 1983).
CITES: appendix i
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: endangered