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The “Macaco-Aranha” Programme has been under development by FEC since 2005. It has been supported by Fauna & Flora International (FFI) and financed by DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, UK). One of the main purposes of the programme is to promote the white-whiskered spider monkey (Ateles Marginatus) as a flagship species for the conservation of the Amazon forest in the Cristalino state park, which is one of the most diverse areas within the biome.
The Cristalino region is recognized today as one of the most strategic and important for the conservation of the Brazilian Amazon. It is also considered one of the last refuges for highly threatened and endemic species which include the white-whiskered spider monkey. The region is currently under great pressure from common and often illegal practices converting pristine native forests into monocultures or grassland.
Faced with such challenges to regional biodiversity conservation, the “Macaco-Aranha” programme aims to alter the common perception that forest / biodiversity conservation imposes a limiting factor for the economic growth of the region. Through environmental awareness initiatives with the support of this charismatic species, the project aims to achieve the conservation of local biodiversity; working directly with schools, farmers, community leaders and other conservation institutions in the Cristalino area.