Golden-headed lion tamarins are among the world's most critically endangered mammals (8). Their habitat is one of the first to be cleared because they live in lowland forests. Currently only 2-5% of its original habitat remains (3), the rest being removed for timber or charcoal, and to make way for plantations, cattle pasture, and industry (7). Eastern and South-eastern Brazil was also one of the first areas to be colonised almost 500 years ago and is now one of the most densely inhabited areas in Brazil, exerting huge pressures on the land's resources (5) (8). Critically low numbers in the wild are due almost exclusively to habitat loss (2). This primate also suffers losses because of natural predators such as ocelots, snakes, hawks and eagles. In addition, this species has suffered from trade, as its amazing appearance makes it a prize pet and very popular in zoos (7) (9). However, captive breeding in zoos and subsequent reintroductions have also helped save this species from extinction, so its former collection for zoos has also had a very positive impact (2). Since it has been listed as Endangered by the IUCN and hunting and trade of the species has been banned (1) (4), it is hoped that hunting no longer poses a threat, though sadly there are still occasional reports of illegal trade in this species (7). Deforestation and habitat loss, however, are more difficult problems to solve (6).
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