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The right to name the new species of titi monkey was auctioned off through CharityFolks.com. The auction included, not only the right to name the new monkey, but lots of other items all of which the proceeds go to various conservation activities. The auction opened February 24, 2005 and closed on March 3, 2005. All the proceeds from the monkey naming auction will go to FUNDNESAP, the Bolivian organization that funds the support of national parks in that country. They are responsible for the generation and management of funding for national parks in Bolivia. A trust fund will be set up to pay for equipment and training for park guards in Madidi which is desperately needed to help protect this new species of monkey and other wildlife.
The auction has garnered much media attention. You may have heard about the auction on 60 Minutes, the Ellen DeGeneres show, CNN, the New York Times, USA Today and Newsweek.
"This is conservation at its most pragmatic," said WCS President and CEO Dr. Steven Sanderson. "The auction will give the public a chance to help Bolivia safeguard one of the world's crown jewels for wildlife, reminding us that the future of conservation is on everyone's shoulders."
The winning bidder will win the right to name the monkey and as a result have their choice of name permanently affixed in all references to the new species in publications, guides and other media that refers to the new monkey.
The New York based CharityFolks.com has recently auctioned off things like lunch with former president Bill Clinton to benefit the Center for Environmental Education. They also sold a imitation 1964 Gibson guitar signed by Paul McCartney to benefit Adopt-A-Minefield, a United Nations charity.
In a desperate effort to raise funds for conservation, auctions like this is one are the latest trend. In the 1980s, environmental groups used “debt for nature” swaps agreements that allowed poorer countries to exchange their financial debts for local money that could be directed to things like conservation officer salaries, training, management and research. The trend in the 1990s was the marketing of ecologically friendly coffee and other products. The trend today is auctions raising money with things like tickets to events, celebrity lunches and TV show walk on roles.
CharityFolks.com received a number of emails with unique suggestions for naming the monkey. Ideas ranged from kids naming the monkey after their best friend, to names from the scientific community. Someone suggested Ninja monkey because they already had the t-shirts made up. Another person suggested science was too serious and offered the name Rhesus Pisces, a play on the famous Reese's Pieces candy.
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