Santa Ana Zoo's Golden-headed Tamarin Baby a Boost for the Species


The Santa Ana Zoo in California announced the April 26 birth of a Golden-headed Lion Tamarin. Closely related to the golden lion tamarin, golden-headed lion tamarins have a black body with a golden-orange face and that same coloring on their hands. Weighing less than 1 pound as adults, the babies tip the scale at about 1/8th of a pound!

These rare monkeys are found only on the Atlantic coast of Brazil and are on special loan from the Brazilian government. Zoos have worked together for several decades on the conservation of this species. Captive breeding, habitat restoration, conservation education and reintroductions into the wild are all part of the international effort to protect and presesrve them. This baby is a great boost to the conservation program. The Santa Ana Zoo’s four golden-headed lion tamarins, combined with eleven closely related golden lion tamarins, make up one of the largest groups of lion tamarins in North America.

Photo Credit: Ethan Fisher/Santa Ana Zo

Golden Lion Tamarin Babies Are A Boon For Conservation


The arrival of new baby Golden Lion Tamarins on February 14th has brought particular joy to Zoo Basel. Castor (17) and Lilian (5) have become an experienced breeding pair with their second delivery of twins. Last year, they made the headlines with Basel Zoo’s first golden lion tamarin birth in twenty years. This year’s two baby Monkeys are full of energy and doing very well.

The zoo has had to wait a long time for these happy events, as the last opportunity to marvel at young golden lion tamarins in Basel was twenty years ago. The first pairing between Castor, from Sweden, and Lilian, imported from Holland, took place following an approach phase of just under two years in exile whilst the monkey house was being renovated. Apparently they now feel equally at home in the re-opened monkey house, demonstrated by the arrival of their two offspring on 14th February this year. Twin births are common in Tamarin and Marmoset pairings, and are standard for Golden Lion Tamarins.

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Photo credit: Zoo Basel

Golden Lion Tamarins live in family groups of up to ten. In Brazil’s Atlantic rainforest, their area of origin, a family will claim a territory covering an area at least four times the size of Basel Zoo. What is particularly fascinating about these monkeys is the way in which social frameworks vary greatly from family to family. The most common framework is a pairing for life (monogamy), followed by a female with multiple male mates (polyandry) and a male with multiple female mates (polygyny). All members of the group are needed to successfully rear young. For example, the father offers energetic help in carrying the young monkeys around on his back.

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One Day, I'll Have a Mohawk Like Mom!


On November 3rd at Zoo Basel, two Cotton-top Tamarin twins came into the world. As is customary with Cotton-tops, the mother and father alternate duties in caring for their new babies. Sometimes, both twins can be seen atop Dad's back, while at other times, Mom will shoulder both babies. Still at other times, it's one baby for each parent. When it's time to eat, of course, dad hands the kids off to Mom for suckling.



Photo credit: Zoo Basel

As these new twins get older, even their siblings will help to carry them. Older siblings play an important role in rearing young tamarins in the wild. They constantly monitor the environment and sound a high pitched whistle to alarm the group if any threats should arise. At birth, Cotton-tops weigh about 45 grams, compared with mom's impressive 600 grams.

Rare Black Lion Tamarin Born at Durrell

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This week keepers at Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust were delighted to welcome a healthy male Black Lion Tamarin, the first born in captivity outside of Brazil in eight years! Mark Brayshaw, Head of Durrell’s animal collection said, “This baby is incredibly important to the European Endangered Species Program. There is still a very long way to go to ensure that the captive population’s viability is assured, but this is most definitely a step in the right direction.”

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This baby has been named Francisco after the Head of Durrell’s Veterinary Department who delivered him. He is the first healthy baby born to new mum Roxanne, who has previously lost two babies and suffered several miscarriages. Due to her previous problems the decision was made to monitor her four and a half month pregnancy carefully and to deliver the baby by caesarean section at the appropriate time. You can see a video below that includes the C-section at the end.

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Photo credits: Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust

So far both mother and baby are doing well. The infant is being hand-reared and syringe fed every two hours throughout the day and night. Over the next few weeks they will slowly teach him to lap milk from a dish; when he is able to do this successfully he can be returned to his family.

The video below contains grahic but fascinating footage of the actual c-section operation.

Meet Marwell's Newest Little Cottontops!

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The UK's Marwell Wildlife recently welcomed baby Cottontop Tamarins and photographer Amy Wilton was on the scene to capture one of the little guys first days in the big world. Tamarins are the smallest of all monkeys and Cottontops grow only to about one pound. Unfortunately this tiny species is critically endangered with three quarters of its habitat in Columbia destroyed by logging and development. 

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Baby Cotton Top Tamarin at the Marwell Zoo 3Photo credits: Amy Wilton

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Endangered Golden Lion Tamarin Clings to Mom

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A bright orange Golden Lion Tamarin has been born at the Santa Barbara Zoo. This is the second viable birth at the Zoo of this small endangered species of monkey from the Brazilian rainforests (called “GLTs” by keepers). Adult GLTs weigh about 1 to 1 1/2 pounds and are roughly ten inches tall, with tails up to 15 inches long. The infant is currently about the size of a C-battery and spends most of its time clinging to its mother’s back. It appears to be in good health and will be examined by the Zoo veterinarian when it is old enough, to determine its sex, weight and other medical details. The Zoo has exhibited GLTs since 1983.


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Photo credits: Katie Clemons

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Rare Tamarin Monkeys or Muppet Babies?


Less than a year after giving birth to baby Orolito, a pair of golden lion tamarins at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo welcomed two more little tufts of orange hair on December 27, 2010. The babies, whose sexes have yet to be determined, are clinging to mom, Brie, and dad, Cumin, and seem to be doing well. The Zoo is fortunate to have had three Golden Lion Tamarins (Leontopithecus rosalia) born in the last 10 months, as they are among the most endangered mammals on earth. Deforestation and habitat loss have relegated the golden lion tamarin to a small region in eastern Brazil. In fact, almost all golden lion tamarins found in U.S. zoos are actually considered to be on loan from the Brazilian government.



Photo credits: Jeanne DeBonis / Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

More [PHOTOS] after the jump!

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Monkey Mix-Up at the London Zoo

A mixed-up monkey is confusing visitors at ZSL London Zoo after taking a shine to another species’ baby. Maternal Juanita, a golden-headed lion tamarin, has adopted an emperor tamarin baby - much to the surprise of zookeepers.

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The surrogate mum, who jumps around the zoo’s Rainforest Life exhibit with the two-month-old baby on her back, started taking an interest in her neighbours’ baby just weeks after it was born. The baby emperor tamarin, who is grey and already sporting the start of an adult’s signature white moustache, was first seen clinging on to Juanita’s fiery orange mane, a month after it was born. Emperor tamarins, native to South America, are usually brought up by their fathers who carry them until they are old enough to fend for themselves.

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Senior keeper, Lucy Hawley, said: “At first the father of the emperor tamarin baby was a little nervous about Juanita – but now they all seem to get along just fine. “Juanita has never had a baby before so it seems like her mothering instinct has just kicked in this time around… who knows what animal she’ll be carrying around next.”

Tamarin surrogate london zoo 3cPhoto credits: Zoological Society of London 


Monkey See, Monkey Hair Do

We want your vote (via comment, facebook, email, or twitter) for best hair do. America's newest Golden Lion Tamarins are facing off in a ZooBorns showdown for coolest coiffe. ('Elvis', on the left, is from Zoo Atlanta and 'Orolito', right, is from Cleveland Metroparks Zoo). Send the name of your pick via any of the channels above and we'll tally the results. Click the images below to enlarge.


Extra points may be awarded for clinging technique...

Full 'Orolito' courtesy of Cleveland Metroparks Zoo/ 'Elvis' courtesy of smileybears

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