Newborn Tamarins Live A Dangerous Life

July 27, 2018

We love a good animal conservation story, don’t you? Golden lion tamarins, which are actually a type of monkey, were declared endangered in the country of Brazil in the 1970s due to … yep, you guessed it … habitat destruction.

By Daderot – Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20274492

But zoologists and conservationists came together to increase the number of tamarins from 200 back in the 70s to almost 3,200 today. If you’ve ever seen a golden lion tamarin in a zoo, you might have noted that it gets its name from the color and mane-like features around its face. Also known as the golden marmoset, golden lion tamarins exist in about 150 zoos around the world.

In the last few weeks, the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington DC reported something exciting: A tamarin female (Izzy!) gave birth to twin tamarins, the first baby tamarins in more than a decade at the zoo. But here is something you might not know: Baby tamarins have one of the highest infant mortality rates among wild animals. Almost half of baby tamarins die in their first year of life, and a lot of these could be accidental. Sadly, one of the twins at the zoo did indeed die, falling from its mother’s back, but the other infant tamarin is thriving!

Any ideas on what the zoo should name the baby tamarin?