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Local communities are often tricked into signing away their rights to the land, losing their cultural heritage, the source of their livelihoods and their food security in exchange for a handful of salt, sugar or a machete. The results are devastating to the people, the forest, the climate and the future of this desperately unstable country.

Why Pygmies of Africa Are So Short | Live Science

In the wake of the loggers come thousands of settlers, eager to farm on the newly accessible land, hostile to the forest peoples whose lands have been destroyed. There has been a vicious cycle of forest peoples, deprived of their forests and therefore their means of survival, being further impoverished by outsiders taking advantage of their situation. With increasing poverty has come decreasing ability to defend their rights. Vast plantations, owned by multinationals are spreading into forested areas.

Oil palm and rubber tree plantations are no-go areas for the Bagyeli, and there has been no compensation for the loss of their land, no jobs, healthcare or other benefits.

A Short History of African Pygmies

Their health is deteriorating as mosquitoes are rife among the plantations, increasing malaria in the area, and the nutrition of the Bagyeli has decreased radically without access to forest foods. Outsiders who have come to work in the plantations discriminate against the Bagyeli and hunt the local animals, depriving the Bagyeli of their major source of protein.

The Batwa were evicted and banned from hunting and gathering; few were compensated.

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They were not consulted. Elders report that they cannot teach their children the traditional skills — collecting honey, hunting, herbal medicine — because they cannot go into the forest. The Batwa have been excluded from the parks, but are mistreated and exploited by the farmers on the outside.

Farmers who had encroached the forest with their farms received compensation when the conservation areas were designated. Displaced Batwa did not. The tourism revenues from some of the major National Parks in this area are substantial. This money goes to the Ugandan government. It is the local forest peoples who have born the highest costs.

Two new baby pygmy marmosets

As forest-dwelling peoples, they have suffered exceptionally from their lands being converted into conservation areas from which they have been evicted. Not only did the Bagyeli hunter-gatherers lose their land but they have also been barred from accessing the area and forced to settle and take up farming — without consultation. In the southeast of Cameroon , Baka hunter-gatherers are being illegally evicted from their ancestral homelands to make way for national parks, and face arrest and beatings, torture and death at the hands of anti-poaching squads supported by WWF.

The 'Pygmies' Displacement and discrimination devastating forest dwellers Across the forests of central Africa, forest peoples have lived by hunting and gathering for millennia.

Elders report that they cannot teach their children the traditional skills — because they cannot go into the forest. Amongst the Bayaka, childcare is shared with fathers spending up to half the day near their babies. Your browser does not support the audio element. The 'Pygmy' peoples' intimate connection to the forests was once valued and respected by other societies, but is now derided.

Local communities are often tricked into signing away their rights to the land, the results are devastating to the people, the forest and the climate. He carries the newborns piggyback style for their first two weeks, bringing them back to the mother to nurse. Older siblings may help, too. When they are a bit older, the babies hide while the rest of their family looks for food until they are strong enough to travel with the group. Usually the young marmosets are weaned and can follow the troop by three months of age. It takes them about two years to grow as large as the adults.


They may leave the troop at this point to start a family of their own, or they may stay to help raise the newest babies. Pygmy marmosets communicate with each other by chattering and trilling in high-pitched voices. Certain squeaks and calls express danger or other urgent monkey messages. They also make faces to express emotions like contentment, surprise, or fear by moving their lips, eyelids, ears, and the hair around their face.

We humans do that, too! These mini monkeys groom one another, and that helps establish social bond. They are fussy about keeping their fur in good shape. Pygmy marmoset families have territories marked by scent. This signals neighboring troops to leave each other alone. Our first pygmy marmosets arrived in as part of the Hancock Expedition. They produced offspring for several years.

Unfortunately, none of the offspring from this pair lived long enough to reproduce. It was not until that another zoo facility, the Skansen Aquarium in Sweden, had reproductive success. So, members of our staff traveled there in to learn what we could. On October 16, , we celebrated the birth of triplets! Happily, all three were healthy and survived their early years.

Wood shavings, perfume and spice scents, and mirrors are offered at different times to keep these busy monkeys content. Often, just moving things around in their habitat makes for new interest.

Pygmy peoples

If the current rate of habitat destruction can be slowed, these tiny monkeys will have a big chance at long-term survival in their forest home. Their largest threat is the pet trade, due to their tiny size, cuddly appearance, and appealing face. We cannot express this enough: monkeys do not make good pets. Together we can save and protect wildlife around the globe.

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The pygmy marmoset is the smallest monkey but not the smallest primate—that title belongs to the mouse lemur. Main menu. Search form Search. Callithrix pygmaea. Goat and Sheep.