Auckland Zoo recently welcomed two critically endangered Cotton-top Tamarin babies to the world.
The pair was born on the evening of June 11. It has been 16 years since the Zoo has bred Cotton-top Tamarins.
Primates team leader, Amy Robbins, says that both babies and parents are doing well, so far. “We’re all buzzing about the new arrivals. It’s exciting to have our Cotton-top parents starting to build their troop, and being a critically endangered species makes the babies arrival even more special. They’re showing signs of being great parents, with Mum feeding and Dad carrying them.”
Keepers won’t know the sex of the pair for some time, but the Zoo will be providing updates on their progress.
The new troop are still adjusting to the world, but Amy says they’re becoming more and more confident, so visitors may get a glimpse of the two new babies during their next visit.
The Zoo’s Cotton-top parents, “Mr. and Mrs. Nuri” (male from Germany and a female from Italy), have settled in well since their arrival in December and share their Rainforest home with three female Agouti’s.
Cotton-top Tamarins are critically endangered in the lowland forests of South America having lost 80% of their original habitat over the last 40 years to deforestation for agriculture, paper and timber supplies.
For this reason, Auckland Zoo’s Cotton-tops have an important advocacy role to help visitors connect with the species and be a voice for their wild cousins. Consumers can help the cause by buying only rainforest friendly paper products to help protect our forests for future generations.
The Cotton-top Tamarin (Saguinus oedipus) is a small New World monkey weighing less than 0.5 kg. They are arboreal (tree dwelling) in wet tropical forests or dry thorn forests in northern Colombia. They live in the mid to lower levels of the forest and have an important role as a seed disperser within their ecosystem.
These primates live in family groups of about 15 animals. Tamarins are monogamous animals (mate for life). Females dominate Tamarin society and only one female has babies at a time in each group. Males care for the babies and even assist at the birth and look after them throughout the early stages.
The specie is currently classified as “Critically Endangered” by the IUCN due to large-scale deforestation and habitat destruction, as the Columbian northwestern lowland forests have been reduced to 5% of their previous area. It is estimated that there are only 6,000 individuals left in the wild.