Zoo de Beauval is incredibly proud of two little Golden Lion Tamarins that were born on February 3rd. The infants are under the care of experienced mother, Maya, and their father, Maceio.
Dad, Maceio, is a survivor of an incredible incident that occurred at the French zoo in 2015. Organized thieves evaded security cameras and stole seven Golden Lion Tamarins and ten Slivery Marmosets. Unfortunately, the endangered animals were never recovered. According to Zoo de Beauval, Maya was introduced to Maceio after the 2015 incident and the two have parented several offspring.
Photo Credits: Zoo de Beauval
The Golden Lion Tamarin (Leontopithecus rosalia), also known as the Golden Marmoset, is a small New World monkey of the family Callitrichidae. The species is native to the Atlantic coastal forests of Brazil. It is currently classified as “Endangered” by the IUCN, as there are only around 1,000 left in the whole world.
The Golden Lion Tamarin has an omnivorous diet consisting of fruits, flowers, nectar, bird eggs, insects and small vertebrates. The monkey uses fingers to extract prey from crevices, under leaves, and in dense growth; a behavior known as micromanipulation, which is made possible by elongated hands and fingers.
The Golden Lion Tamarin is largely monogamous. In the wild, reproduction is seasonal and depends on rainfall. Mating is at its highest at the end of the rainy season between late March to mid-June. Tamarins have a four-month gestation period. Groups exhibit cooperative rearing of the infants, due to the fact that tamarins commonly give birth to twins and, to a lesser extent, triplets and quadruplets. In their first four weeks, the infants are completely dependent on their mother for nursing and carrying. By week five, the infants spend less time on their mother’s back and begin to explore their surroundings. Young reach their juvenile stage at 17 weeks and will socialize other group members. A tamarin first displays adult behaviors at 14 months of age.
Threats to the Golden Lion Tamarin population in the wild include: illegal logging, poaching, mining, urbanization and infrastructure development and the introduction of alien species. In captivity, the greatest threat to the species is organized crime. According to some experts, a breeding pair can fetch more than $30,000 on the “black market”.
The species was first listed as “Endangered” by the IUCN in 1982. By 1984, the National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C. and the World Wide Fund for Nature, through the Golden Lion Tamarin Association, began a reintroduction programme from 140 zoos worldwide. Despite the success of the project, the IUCN classification was changed to “Critically Endangered” in 1996. By 2003 the successful establishment of a new population at União Biological Reserve enabled the classification of the species, once again, to “Endangered”. The IUCN warns that extreme habitat fragmentation from deforestation means the wild population has little potential for any further expansion.