View a family of common marmosets live via
CITES: Appendix II
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IUCN Red List: C. jacchus: LC
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Key: LC = Least concern
(Click on species name to see IUCN Red List entry, including detailed status assessment information.)
Photo: David Abbott
The common marmoset is abundant. Though they are not currently threatened in
any parts of their range, common marmosets are losing habitat at an alarming
rate, and land-use policy should reflect the need to protect these animals
before they meet the fate of so many of their primate cousins.
Threat: Human-Induced Habitat Loss and Degradation
Unfortunately, the Brazilian cerrado region has suffered from
conservation efforts focused on the rainforests of the Amazon in recent
decades. Before 1950, the cerradão was thought to be
economically useless because of its climate during the dry season, poor
soils, frequent fires, and restricted access to populated areas of
Brazil. As large-scale agribusiness ventures were driven out of the
rainforest, the prospect of cheap land in the cerrado region coupled
with technological improvements in farming and agriculture facilitated
large scale conversion of this biome to cropland. By the 1990s at least
67% of the cerrado region was converted to intensive human use and
current estimates calculate that up to 80% has been cleared for
agriculture (Cavalcanti & Joly 2002). While marmosets are not currently
threatened, a major part of their habitat is disappearing and it is
unknown how populations will react if they must live in increasingly
smaller patches of habitat, regardless of how well they succeed in edge habitats.
Threat: Invasive Alien Species
Common marmosets are susceptible to a number of parasites and pathogens,
but none threaten their abundance. Some parasites that are problematic
include lice, flies, and ticks, which can spread zoonotic diseases as they move between
hosts, as well as acari, arthropods that parasitize the skin and hair
follicles and lead to sarcoptic mange, a disease of the skin that causes
lesions, hair loss, anorexia, and extreme weight loss (Rylands et al.
2001). Some pathogens that wild common marmosets are susceptible to
include toxoplasmosis, herpesviruses, hepatitis, Salmonella,
Shigella, Escheria coli, Streptococchus,
Staphylococcus, Pnuemococchus, leptospirosis, and
multiple fungal diseases (Rylands et al. 2001). Though these diseases
are potentially life-threatening to individual animals or may affect a
group of common marmosets, they are not a direct threat to the survival
of the species at this time.
Threat: Harvesting (hunting/gathering)
Attractive as pets in South and Central America, common marmosets are
often captured and sold in the pet trade (Rylands et al. 2001;
Duarte-Quiroga & Estrada 2003). In Mexico City, a common marmoset can
be purchased for about US$2000 (Durate-Quiroga & Estrada 2003).
Once taken as pets, marmosets and other primates suffer from poor diet,
exposure to foreign diseases, and inadequate husbandry. Moreover, once
they age and become more destructive in their play patterns and less
ideal as pets, monkeys are often abandoned or killed (Duarte-Quiroga &
Estrada 2003). It is unknown how many common marmosets are kept as pets
in private homes.
Threat: Human Disturbance
Common marmosets are also subject to forest fires in parts of their
range. Historically, indigenous people set fire to the cerrado
every three to five years to regenerate new growth and aid in
agriculture practices (de Castro & Kauffman 1998).
The use of common marmosets in biomedical research has been prevalent in
the United States and abroad since the 1960s. Because of their
susceptibility to a large number of viral infections, taxonomical closeness to humans, large wild populations that could be harvested
without threat, high reproductive rate, and small body size, marmosets
were considered good candidates for captive studies and their use
exploded in studies of teratology, periodontal disease, and reproduction
(Rylands 1997). Export bans in Brazil necessitated the establishment of
self-sustaining colonies in the early 1970s, and no common marmosets
have been taken from the wild for use in biomedical research since 1974.
Vigorous research on their behavior, husbandry, health, and breeding
has helped maintain large captive populations in federally funded
National Primate Research Centers, academic institutions, pharmaceutical
companies, and commercial breeding facilities in the US and Europe
(Rylands 1997). In Europe, common marmosets are even more widely used
in research than in the US and are the most frequently used non-human
primate in research laboratories (Abbott et al. 2003). Other areas of
research in which marmoset models are indispensable include immunology,
endocrinology, obesity, and aging (Abbott et al. 2003).
LINKS TO MORE ABOUT CONSERVATION
ORGANIZATIONS INVOLVED IN Callithrix jacchus CONSERVATION
Content last modified: May 18, 2005
Written by Kristina Cawthon Lang. Reviewed by Toni Ziegler.
Cite this page as:
Cawthon Lang KA. 2005 May 18. Primate Factsheets: Common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) Conservation . <http://pin.primate.wisc.edu/factsheets/entry/common_marmoset/cons>. Accessed 2014 August 23.