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A Talk on the Wild Side.

Women’s Artisan Cooperative Wins 2012 Equator Prize

Awesome news for the United Women Artisans’ Association of Los Limites, aka ASOARTESANAS.  They won the 2012 United Nations Equator Prize! Working with Fundacion Proyecto Titi, these community artisans are helping to save cotton top tamarins in Los Limites, Columbia.

Cotton top tamarin

Cotton top tamarins are small, elusive monkeys that live in vanishing habitat in the tropical forests of northwestern Columbia. They’re one of the most endangered primates in the world. To save these animals from extinction, Fundacion Proyecto Titi and ASOARTESANAS are working to stop deforestation, hunting, and the capture of tamarins for the illegal pet trade.

Women artisans working

ASOARTESANAS makes plush toys modeled after the tamarins, as well as intricately woven handbags, called “eco-mochilas,” from recycled plastic bags. Production of the bags has kept more than three million plastic bags from landfills, forests, and streams. These items raise awareness of the plight of cotton top tamarins and provide income for the community, with local women earning $150/month on average.  You can purchase them online.

Our Wildlife Without Borders program has supported Proyecto Titi for two years, with a $31,000 grant from the Critically Endangered Animals program in 2010 and a $78,000 grant from the Latin America and Caribbean program in 2011. These grants have leveraged more than $110,000 in matching funds. In addition to the community artisan work, we’ve also supported the establishment of protected areas for tamarins, environmental education in local schools, and sustainable development activities.

The United Nations Equator Prize is a highly competitive award with over 800 nominations from 113 countries. ASOARTESANAS will receive $5,000 and is invited to send one representative to the United Nations Development Program Rio+20 meeting in June to accept the prize. 

We’re proud to support this award-winning conservation initiative that benefits both people and animals!

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