Baby Tamarin's Moustache Is Sprouting!

A baby Emperor Tamarin born on November 3 at Great Britain’s Blackpool Zoo is too young to sport an impressive moustache like her parents, but if you look closely at the photo, you’ll see that she already has a little “stubble” on each side of her nose!

Why do Emperor Tamarins have moustaches? No one knows for certain, but the bright white facial hair may aid communication among groups of these tiny monkeys. 

Tamarins are among the smallest of all monkeys – they’re about the size of squirrels and weigh only about one pound. Emperor Tamarins are native to the rain forests of western Brazil, eastern Peru, and northern Bolivia in the Amazon Basin.  At this time, the species is plentiful in the wild.

Photo Credit:  Jay Mayne


‘Punk-Rock’ Primates Born at Cotswold Wildlife Park

1_Cotton-top with parent looking at camera

It has been fourteen years since Cotton-top Tamarins produced young at Cotswold Wildlife Park, so keepers were thrilled when their newest female gave birth to twins. The striking infants were born to first-time parents and have been named Tilly and Tammy. 

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2_Cottons head tilt

3_Cotton twins on parentPhoto Credits: Cotswold Wildlife Park

Cotton-top Tamarins (Saguinus oedipus) are considered to be one of the world’s 25 most endangered primates and are classified as “Critically Endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), making them one of South America’s rarest monkeys. Rampant deforestation and gold mining have destroyed an estimated 95% of their natural habitat. In the wild, these exceptionally rare creatures are restricted to a tiny corner of north-west Colombia. Approximately 6,000 individuals remain in the wild, which is a devastatingly low figure, considering their numbers once ranged between 20,000 to 30,000 in the 1960s and 1970s.

The twin’s new father Johnny (named for punk star Johnny Rotten) is an important individual for the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP). He has an impressively pure bloodline, so these new births are considered significant additions to the EEP, helping to ensure the genetic diversity of this rare and wonderful species.

Curator of Cotswold Wildlife Park, Jamie Craig, said, “This is the first time we have bred this species for many years, and the keepers are delighted at the progress of the youngsters so far!”

Each member of the family plays a specific role when it comes to rearing the young. The dominant male spends the most time carrying the infants. The mother carries them for the first week of life, and then holds them only to suckle. Females are pregnant for six months and the babies weigh about 15 per cent of their mother’s body weight, which is equivalent to a nine-stone woman giving birth to two ten-pound babies.

Cotton-top Tamarins boast a fantastic crest of long white hair, like a mane of white cotton. The white fur can be raised and lowered, creating a punk-like fan display. Cotton-top Tamarins also have more than 40 vocalizations used to communicate everything from the discovery of food to the approach of predators. 

More incredible pics, below the fold!

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New Emperor Tamarin at Schönbrunn Zoo


Schönbrunn Zoo’s mustache collection increased by one this spring. A new Emperor Tamarin was born April 26, at the Vienna Zoo.

The infant is frequently seen, riding piggyback, on the father or older brother. “The male Emperor Tamarins take on the care and rearing of the young. If the baby gets hungry, however, it is returned quickly to mother,” said Zoo Director, Dagmar Schratter.



4_pa_baertigeraffennachwuchs3_animal_detail_801Photo Credits: Georg Blaha (Image 1), Franz Wunsch (Image 2,4), Norbert Potensky (Image 3)

The Emperor Tamarin is a species allegedly named for its mustached resemblance to the German Emperor Wilhelm II.  Both male and female Emperor Tamarins are known to sport the distinctive facial hair.

This species of tamarin is native to the southwest Amazon Basin, eastern Peru, northern Bolivia, and the western Brazilian states of Acre and Amazonas.  They prefer Amazonian lowland and lower montane rain forests, as well as remnant, primary, and secondary forests.

They consume a wide range of specimens in their daily dietary routine, including: fruits, flowers, exude of plants (gums and saps), insects, frogs, and other animal prey.

The age of first reproduction in Emperor Tamarins is around 16 to 20 months old, with a gestation period of up to 6 months. Tamarins are seasonal breeders, and breeding is based around food availability, with most births occurring during the wet season when food resources are in abundance.

Tamarin species were once thought to be monogamous, but observations of Emperor Tamarins in the wild shot they often have a polyandrous mating system, with one dominant female mating with multiple males.

Due to the high rate of twins or multiples at birth, Emperor Tamarins rely on parental and paternal care to ensure infant survival. Helpers are either older female offspring of the dominant female that have remained a part of the group, or they are males that have frequent interaction with the dominant female. Infant carrying has a high energetic cost due to the relatively large fetal weight of infants to the weight of adults. Helpers provide the extra support needed for caring of multiple infants. Male Emperor Tamarins have been observed to spend the most time with infants, often carrying several while the mother forages for food. The males have also been observed to be more protective of the young and are known to react faster to distress calls.

Emperor Tamarins are currently listed as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. There are currently no conservation efforts aimed directly toward this species of primates. However, their populations have been in decline due to threats of deforestation and human encroachment.   


Movember Madness at Belfast Zoo

(1)  Movember is in full swing at Belfast Zoo with the arrival of an emperor tamarin!

The Emperor Tamarins, at Belfast Zoo, are up and ready for “Movember”!  The newest moustached member of the zoo, ‘Lucky’, was born on September 28th to mother, ‘Bella’ and father, ‘Alfie’.

(2)  The moustached little monkey, who has been named Lucky, was born on 28 September 2014 to mother, Bella and father, Alfie.

(3)  These primates live in family groups and, while the mother nurses her offspring, it is the father who carries and cares for them.

(4)  Alfie certainly has his hands full with the new arrival but luckily the pair’s other offspring, Dot, Ethel, Ping and Pong help out with the childcare!Photo Credits: Belfast Zoo

“Movember” is an international campaign, held every November. Men across the globe are encouraged to grow moustaches as a means to promote and raise awareness for men’s health issues, such as prostate cancer.

Zoo manager, Mark Challis, said, “Emperor Tamarins are named after the German Emperor, Wilhelm II, because of their long white moustaches. It is fantastic that at less than two months old, little Lucky has a ‘Movember’ moustache to rival anyone’s!  Lucky is the third Emperor Tamarin to be born at the zoo in 2014, and we are delighted to welcome him to the Belfast Zoo family!”

Emperor Tamarins are found in the tropical rainforests along the Amazon River in Peru, Brazil and Bolivia.  These primates live in family groups, and, while the mother nurses her offspring, it is the father who carries and cares for them. Little Lucky’s father, ‘Alfie’, certainly has his hands full with the new arrival, but luckily the parent’s other offspring, ‘Dot’, ‘Ethel’, ‘Ping’ and ‘Pong’, help out with the childcare!

More pics below the fold!

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Tiny Orange Twins Born at Santa Barbara Zoo

SB Zoo Golden Lion Tamarins 1
A pair of tiny orange Golden Lion Tamarins was born at the Santa Barbara Zoo on July 20 to new mother Kimmer and her mate, Kovu.

SB Zoo Golden Lion Tamarin 2
SB Zoo Golden Lion Tamarins family
SB Zoo Golden Lion Tamarins family2Photo Credit:  Santa Barbara Zoo

This small Monkey species hails from the Brazilian rainforest, where they are highly endangered due to development, deforestation and agriculture.

For the first 10 days following birth, Kimmer cared for the twins herself, but recently passed one off to her mate Kovu, who has fathered several offspring at the Santa Barbara Zoo. Twins Karen and Frank, born from a different mother in 2012, remain in the exhibit to learn how to care for newborns.

“Kovu is an outstanding father,” says Sheri Horiszny, Director of Animal Care. “He raised Karen and Frank by himself after their mother, Bella, died from an infection when they were five weeks old. Now Karen and Frank can observe how he and Kimmer care for the new offspring, just as young Golden Lion Tamarins do in the wild, to prepare for their own future babies.

Frank and Karen will soon move to another zoo as part of a cooperative breeding program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), in which accredited member zoos and institutions collaborate to manage endangered species populations. The Zoo has exhibited Golden Lion Tamarins since 1983. 

Adult Golden Lion Tamarins weigh about 1 to 1 1/2 pounds and are roughly 10 inches tall, with tails up to 15 inches long. The infants are now about the size of a stick of butter and spend most of their time on their parents’ backs. The new twins appear to be in good health and will be examined by the Zoo veterinarian at 30 days old to determine their sexes and weights, and receive vaccinations.  

“The young are getting more alert and curious every day,” adds Horiszny, “and the adults are always very active.”

Golden Lion Tamarins have silky, golden coats and manes around a dark face, giving the lion-like impression.  They live in the forest canopy, above the forest floor, in the lowland forests of southeastern Brazil. They face huge challenges in the wild as more than 99 percent of their forest habitat has been cut down for lumber, agriculture and housing.

Adults are monogamous and share in the care of their young. Upon birth, the young climb atop their parents’ backs. An infant does not have to leave its mothers back to nurse – her teats are almost under her arm pit, so they just slide under her arm. Both parents are involved in raising the young, who are weaned at approximately 12 weeks.

Golden Lion Tamarins are among the most endangered mammals on earth. Deforestation and habitat loss have relegated the species to a small region in eastern Brazil. Almost all Golden Lion Tamarins found in U.S. zoos, including those at the Santa Barbara Zoo, are considered to be on loan from the Brazilian government for captive breeding. Golden Lion Tamarins born in U.S. zoos have been reintroduced into the wild, and now one-third of the wild population comes from captive stock.   




Emperor Tamarin Twins Born at Banham Zoo

Tamarin hero

Christmas Eve 2012 at Banham Zoo, UK, brought two little Emperor Tamarin twins!

Emperor Tamarins are ususally born in pairs. In tamarins and their close relatives the marmosets, the mother nurses her offspring but it is the father who carries them. The pair's older offspring may also help. These twins enjoy riding on their father and an older brother. 

The twins are beginning to explore and venture away from the family in short bursts. They were especially curious about the photographer, but soon ran back to cling to dad. 

Tamarin 1

Tamarin 3

Photo Credits: Banham Zoo

Learn more after the fold.

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"Miracle Monkey" Delivers Twins Following Tragedy


Conchetta, a Cotton-Top Tamarin at Australia's Alma Park Zoo who survived a kidnapping two years ago, has become a mother to twin babies.

In 2010, Conchetta and her mate Tonta were stolen from the zoo.  Tragically, Tonta was killed. Conchetta remained missing for four months but was eventually returned to the zoo.  She was paired with a new mate, Manny, and when Conchetta had a single baby last year she was dubbed the "Miracle Monkey" by local media.  Then in November of 2012, Conchetta had twins.  Twins are common in Cotton-Top Tamarins.


Photo Credit:  Alma Park Zoo

At birth, the babies were only about three inches (7 cm) long.  They spent nearly all their time clinging to Conchetta's back or nursing.  They are just beginning to explore their surroundings.  

Cotton-Top Tamarins are native to a tiny portion of northern Colombia, where they inhabit mature rain forests.  They are considered to be one the world's 25 most endangered primates, due to intense logging, argiculture, and hydroelectric projects which are destroying their habitat.

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.