When we think of protecting wildlife, the first thing that comes to mind isn’t swapping our morning cup o’ joe. But this simple switch could be the secret to helping protect endangered wildlife.

A new study done by our friends at Rainforest Alliance has found that there are many forms of wildlife living on Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee farms; among them, endangered Andean night monkeys.

The study found that the planting of shade trees on coffee farms suggest that although the threatened night monkey inhabit natural forests, they also spend a majority of their time (80 percent) in coffee plantations with a dense shade cover, as opposed to those with less shade.


“Night monkeys are rarely spotted because they are nocturnal and dwell in trees,” explains Deanna Newsom, senior analyst for evaluation and research at the Rainforest Alliance. “By radio tagging a group of night monkeys in Colombia, we found that they spend almost as much time foraging for food on densely shaded coffee farms as they do in the rainforest.”

These coffee farms with a dense shade cover resemble natural forest, with coffee plants growing under the shade of the canopy. The layered vegetation provides important habitat to an abundance of wildlife, including mammals and migratory birds. Using camera traps, researchers found 12 different species of mammals living on shaded certified and non-certified coffee farms, including honey bears (Potos flavus), olingos (Bassarycion gabbii) and white-nosed coati (Nasua nasua).

On Rainforest Alliance Certified farms, forests are protected, hunting is prohibited, set-aide areas that are off-limits to farming are a requirement and natural shade cover is built-up, making them ideal homes for wildlife, including these monkeys.

“Since achieving Rainforest Alliance certification, we regularly see birds, mammals, lizards, snakes and spiders on our farm,” commented Ricardo Rodriguez Chaparro of La Maria, a Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee farm in Colombia. “We now educate our local community about how they too can help to conserve wildlife and native species.”

By looking for the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal when buying coffee, you can help out these monkeys and other forms of wildlife. To find a list of coffees featuring the green frog seal, visit Shop the Frog.

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