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Boy oh Boise: Baby Cotton-Top Tamarin!

Idaho's Zoo Boise proudly announces the newest member of the family - a cotton-top tamarin baby. The female tamarin was born at Zoo Boise on November 6, 2009. Tamarins are small primates from South America; the baby is the first tamarin born at Zoo Boise... (Lead 2 Photos by Shawn Raecke/Idaho Statesman)




After the jump: More photos and a Q & A with The Idaho Statesman

Q: What is a cotton-top tamarin?

A: An endangered primate found in South America; fully grown, it's about the size of a squirrel.


Q: When was she born?

A: Nov. 6, but since her mother was raised in captivity, she never learned how to take care of a baby. Zoo staff has been taking care of the newborn around the clock, with the help of a gibbon doll stuffed with a handwarmer.

"This was not a planned birth," said Lindsay Ruffner, primate/penguin keeper. "We were all very surprised."

It's really hard to tell if a small primate is pregnant. And the baby's mom had a birth control implant, Ruffner said.


Q: What is she eating?

A: Human baby formula and baby food. She prefers fruit but will have to learn to eat her vegetables, said Zoo Boise veterinarian Amanda Guthrie.


Q: What's her life expectancy?

A: Between 12 and 18 years in captivity. Whether she stays in Boise will depend on how well she gets along with her parents.


Q: When can the public see her?

A: Not until she's bigger and more independent; but meanwhile, zoo staff will post videos on Facebook, said spokeswoman Liz Littman. A naming contest is planned next year.