Jersey

Durrell monkey on new BBC Attenborough show

Black lion tamarin
Image caption Durrell has a group of black lion tamarins at its park in Trinity, Jersey

A group of rare Brazilian monkeys at a Jersey wildlife park are to feature on a national television programme.

David Attenborough visited the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust to see its black lion tamarins for his show Attenborough's Ark.

The tamarins were thought to be extinct until their rediscovery in 1970.

In the show Sir David explains why the animals are so important.

He also highlights the work conservationists around the world are doing to keep them alive.

Sir David has selected 10 endangered animals from around the world that he would most like to save from extinction.

Two of the top three species he has selected, the black lion tamarin and Hispaniolan solenodon are part of the Jersey based Durrell Wildlife Trust's protection programme.

Dom Wormell, head of mammals at Durrell, said: "It is a tiny primate from Brazil that weighs 600g to 700g.

"They are from the interior Atlantic rainforest of the Eastern side of Brazil. What's left of this forest is only 5% or 6% so you really are talking about the end game of this species.

"It is a fantastic story what is happening with this species. We have got a captive safety net population, we are re-introducing into the wild. We have got 500 families into the programme planted in rainforest corridors.

"These rainforest corridors are like lifelines to these creatures, it is about making the landscape alive for people and animals."

Mr Wormell said David Attenborough had been to Durrell in Jersey a number of times and knows the charity focused on tamarins for a number of years.

The Hispaniolan solenodon is a shrew like mammal that possesses a venomous bite and grooved fangs, more usually found in reptiles.

Durrell's Head of Conservation Science Dr Richard Young has been at the forefront of the study and subsequent efforts to conserve these creatures.

Image caption Sir David visited the island earlier in 2012 to film the black lion tamarins

He said: "It is one of the world's weirdest and really most wonderful mammals in my view at least. What is special about this animal is that it is so ancient. It allows you to look deep into the past.

"They split from other mammal species around 70 million years ago and it retains some of the ancient features found in those mammals. It has a grooved tooth to allow it to have a venomous bite."

In Attenborough's Ark Sir David explains why these animals are so important and highlights the ingenious work of biologists across the world who are helping to keep them alive.

His top 10 includes Darwin's frog - the only frog in the world where the male gives birth to its young. There is also the olm - a salamander which can live to 100 years old.

Image caption The Hispaniolan solenodon is a shrew like creature with a venomous bite and grooved fangs

Sir David said: "I could choose those that grab the headlines - the majestic tiger, the spectacular polar bear, the beautiful snow leopard or the magnificent mountain gorilla. They are all animals that I wouldn't want to lose.

"But there are many other extraordinary creatures out there not in the limelight. These few give a glimpse of the outstanding diversity of nature."

Attenborough's Ark airs on Friday 9 November at 21:00 GMT.

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