When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Sources

The First Winner At Rio 2016 May Be A Red-Headed Monkey

Mico-leão-dourado [Golden Lion Tamarin]
Mico-leão-dourado [Golden Lion Tamarin]
Giuliana Miranda

RIO DE JANEIRO - Every Olympics needs a strong mascot.

But for the 2016 Summer Games, the two animals leading the pack are in a rather weak position. Each of the two primates being considered to become the face of Brazil's first-ever Olympics is in risk of extinction: the mico-leão-dourado (golden lion tamarin) and muriqui are the names of two natives species endemic to the Atlantic Forest, a long strip of tropical and subtropical forest covering virtually the entire Brazilian coast, north to south.

Up to now, mico-leão-dourado, a kind of pop-star within Brazilian fauna, is leading the preferences. It has become well-known thanks to 20 years of publicity that made its red mane famous around the world.

“This animal is the face of success. It has a beautiful story, of engaging with society. People from all the world come here just to see it," says Luís Paulo Ferraz, CEO at the NPO Associação do Mico-Leão-Dourado (Golden Lion Tamarin Association), which heads the campaign to save the little monkey. “Besides, mico-leão-dourado has the color of gold medal.”

Awareness efforts have increased a previous population of 200 animals to the current 1,700. Part of it is due to protection and the recovering Atlantic Forest.

Singing support

In the other corner is muriqui, the largest primate on the South American continent. It has a strong team of supporters, including popular singers like Gilberto Gil and Chico Buarque, who are featured in a slick new video made for the campaign, led by Instituto Ecoatlântica.

"Muriqui is like the panda in China,” declares Russell Mittermeier, president of Conservação Internacional and a specialist on primates.

Mittermeier and the NPO are helping to globalize the campaign for muriqui, which is supported by Rio's regional goverment as well.

"It has fewer chances because it is not a famous animal. Mico is also at risk, but muriqui is in much higher danger,” says Mittermeier. Estimates are that only 160 muriquis live in Rio de Janeiro state now.

In spite of the campaigns, other species may be chosen instead of the two primates. The tatu-bola, another species in serious danger of extinction, is in the running as well. Proposals for the official mascot will come from the 15 communication agencies invited by the Olympic committee to offer their ideas. Ultimately, the muriqui and mico-leão will have to win the hearts not only of conservationists, but also public relations experts.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

eyes on the U.S.

Eyes On U.S. — California, The World Is Worried About You

As an Italian bestseller explores why people are fleeing the Golden State, the international press also takes stock of unprecedented Silicon Valley layoffs. It may be a warning for the rest of the world.

Photo of a window pane with water droplets reflecting Facebook's thumb up logo, with one big thumb down in the background

Are you OK, Meta?

Ginevra Falciani and Bertrand Hauger

-Analysis-

For as long as we can remember, the world has seen California as the embodiment of the American Dream.

Today, this dream may be fading — and the world is taking notice.

A peek at the Italian list of non-fiction best-sellers in 2022 includes California by Francesco Costa, a book that looks to explain why 340,000 people moved out of the state last year, causing a drop in its population for the first time ever.

To receive Eyes on U.S. each week in your inbox, sign up here.

Why are all these people leaving a state that on paper looks like the best place in the world to live? Why are stickers with the phrase “Don't California my Texas” attached to the back of so many pick-up trucks?

Keep reading...Show less

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

The latest