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Saving Mono Titi Documentary

The Story of the Mono Titi

Manuel Antonio Park is the crown jewel of the Costa Rican National Park system. Some would say that it is the birthplace of Eco Tourism. Manuel Antonio Park is also one of the two restricted habitats of the highly endangered Mono Titi squirrel monkey.

CLICK HERE TO HELP SAVE THE MONO TITI

Among the smallest of all primates, weighing in at around one and half pounds, the Mono Titi is as endearing as any creature in nature. Known as the “peaceful primates”, their social structure is unique in the egalitarian nature of their interactions. Both male and female nurture their young and they enjoy equal status within their troops. They live, they play and they love with the youthful exuberance of a band of mischievous teenagers on a holiday bash.

Prior to the middle of the twenty-century, the Pacific Coast of Central America was a sparsely inhabited frontier of wild coastal jungle. The Mono Titi had a range that extended hundreds of miles along the Pacific Coasts of Panama and Costa Rica. During the 1950’s Costa Rica emerged from third-world impoverishment through a nation wide effort to develop large-scale agricultural capacity across the country. The Pacific Coast region experienced widespread deforestation with the introduction of banana and cattle. This trend has played itself out to a degree where the habitat of the Mono Titi has now become so fragmented that their long-term survivability is in jeopardy.

Today Mono Titi’s habitat has been reduced to two restricted areas. There is a population in and around the Manuel Antonio National Park and there is another population in Corcovado National Park to the south. The Manuel Antonio habitat is an area that is less than 3000 acres in total. It is estimated that only around 1,700 of the animals are left in existence.

Over the last two decades the economy of Coast Rica has seen a gradual shift away from an agricultural based economy to a tourism based economy. Enlightened governmental policies have set aside more than 25% of the country as National Parks and Protected Areas. Costa Rica has some of the most stringent environmental laws in the world. Unfortunately a lack of funding has made enforcement difficult.

Over the last two decades the economy of Coast Rica has seen a gradual shift away from an agricultural based economy to a tourism based economy. Enlightened governmental policies have set aside more than 25% of the country as National Parks and Protected Areas. Costa Rica has some of the most stringent environmental laws in the world. Unfortunately a lack of funding has made enforcement difficult.

After nearly 20 years of development as one of the world’s premier eco tourism destinations, the Manuel Antonio community is struggling with its identity. There is no better symbol of this identity crisis than the Mono Titi itself. Thousand of visitors flock here each year for a communal experience with nature. Yet the march forward into a world-class tourist destination threatens the area’s star attraction, the wonderful, peaceful and playful Mono Titi. As this community struggles to enforce its environmental laws and keep rampant development in check, the fate of the Mono Titi hangs in the balance. Today the future of the Mono Titi is uncertain.

After nearly 20 years of development as one of the world’s premier eco tourism destinations, the Manuel Antonio community is struggling with its identity. There is no better symbol of this identity crisis than the Mono Titi itself. Thousand of visitors flock here each year for a communal experience with nature. Yet the march forward into a world-class tourist destination threatens the area’s star attraction, the wonderful, peaceful and playful Mono Titi. As this community struggles to enforce its environmental laws and keep rampant development in check, the fate of the Mono Titi hangs in the balance. Today the future of the Mono Titi is uncertain.

After nearly 20 years of development as one of the world’s premier eco tourism destinations, the Manuel Antonio community is struggling with its identity. There is no better symbol of this identity crisis than the Mono Titi itself. Thousand of visitors flock here each year for a communal experience with nature. Yet the march forward into a world-class tourist destination threatens the area’s star attraction, the wonderful, peaceful and playful Mono Titi. As this community struggles to enforce its environmental laws and keep rampant development in check, the fate of the Mono Titi hangs in the balance. Today the future of the Mono Titi is uncertain.

In some respects Manuel Antonio can be seen as ground zero in our fight to protect our planet. The plight of the Mono Titi begs the question: if we can’t get this right in a place like Manuel Antonio, then where can we get it right? Manuel Antonio is a community where the economy depends on protecting its natural treasures. If we cannot save an endangered species like the Mono Titi in the very cradle of eco tourism industry, if we cannot reverse the trend here, then where can we reverse the trend?

Our film examines these issues within a historical context to bring the plight of the Mono Titi to life. With Cooperation from Eco Preservation Society, The Phoenix Zoo, Kids Saving the Rainforest, The Association for the Preservation of the Mono Titi and the Rainmaker Conservation Project, we have over 30 hours of filming completed with interviews with over 20 individuals. We examine corruption and illegal deforestation that takes place to this day. We look at the effects of the tourism industry and the effects of people interacting with the animals. We have interviews with Costa Rican and American School children and their perspectives. We have historical interviews with the former manager of the United Fruit Company (Chiquita Banana) and people instrumental with establishing the park. We also feature a one of a kind interactive squirrel monkey exhibit at the Phoenix Zoo.

We want to thank you for your interest in the Saving Mono Titi project and we encourage you to support our efforts to save this wonderful creature. For more information on how you can help, visit the Saving Mono Titi web site

Related Stories:
A brief history of African Palm
Support the Eco Preservation Society
Take an Eco Interactive Tour to visit Mono Titi

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