January 31, 2017, Updated January 30, 2017

The world’s yellow-tailed woolly monkey population is critically endangered and repeatedly features on a list of the world’s top 25 most endangered primates. Now a new Israeli-led conservationist project will ensure this rare primate species will have a protected land area in the Peruvian Andes, safe from deforestation and poaching.

This Is My Earth (TiME) – an Israeli-founded non-profit organization based in New York– recently crowdfunded $30,000 to purchase privately-owned land in the Peruvian Andes to create a nature reserve for over 300 species.

“Within less than a year, we’ve managed to show that it’s possible to save species and protect the earth through crowdsourcing, thanks to lots of caring people,” said TiME co-founder Prof. Uri Shanas of the Biology and Environment Department at the University of Haifa’s Oranim Campus.

TiME’s members include environmental leaders and renowned scientists from around the world.

Peruvian Night Monkey. Photo via NPC
Peruvian Night Monkey. Photo via NPC

The crowdsourced project will see TiME purchase the nature reserve habitat in the Peruvian Andes, currently privately-owned land.

This habitat is home to over 300 species of birds, lizards, and mammals, among them many of which appear on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Among the vulnerable species found at the site include the Peruvian night monkey, the spectacled bear, the long-whiskered owlet, the white-bellied spider monkey, the Royal sunangel and jaguars.

“According to Peruvian law, the land can only be sold to locals (members of the Yambrasbamba Campesino community). Accordingly, the land will be purchased in the community’s name by a local conservation organization, Neotropical Primate Conservation, managed by Sam and Noga Shanee. The Shanees have lived in the area for years, working to help save species in danger of extinction. They will manage the site together with the local community, and in the spirit of TiME, research and educational activities will be integrated in the purchased area,” said Alon Tal, veteran environmental activist in Israel and a co-founder of TiME.

“The rate of deforestation in the rainforest is among the highest in the world,” said Shanas. “This specific site serves as an important corridor between two existing reserves. Breaking the chain of forests in this area could dissect the region, leaving small animal populations unable to survive. Although this is a small area of land, we have been motivated by this success. We really hope that this proof of concept will help us recruit more supporters and members over the coming year.”

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