The portuguese arrived in Brazil in 1500 and started the colonisation of the country in the southeast and northeast of the country (region in red = southeast, orange = northeast ) Due to this fact, the two regions concentrate many of the country's mega-cities like São Paulo (biggest city in Latin America), Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, etc... It's also the most densely populated, industrialized and ecologically devastated region in the country. Extending along the southeast coast of the country lies the Mata Atlantica (Atlantic Forest) a region of tropical and subtropical rain forest. The bioma was almost totally destroyed in the 500 years of existence of the nation. ATLANTIC FOREST IN 1500 -------- ATLANTIC FOREST IN 2005 This ecosystem is home to two critically endangered species of tamarins: THE GOLDEN LION TAMARIN (Leontopithecus rosalia) and the BLACK LION TAMARIN (Leontopithecus chrysopygus) Although the two species do not interbreed in the wild they can interbreed in captivity so it is possible to consider the golden and the black variety as subspecies of the Lion Tamarin species. In 1982 (and later in 1996) brazilian authorities announced to the world that the golden and the black lion tamarin were virtually extinct generating an international commotion. The desperate situation of the lion tamarin reached the international community in the nineties and hundreds of thousands of people around the world who cared about ecology were moved by the plight of the brazilian tiny monkeys. International foundations were created, a huge global effort was set up and government agencies in Europe, America and Asia sent resources to help save the lion tamarin from extinction. Millions of dollars have been spent since then.