Birth of 2 golden lion tamarins

The arrival of a warmer weather and Easter holidays are the perfect opportunity to visit La Palmyre zoo and see the latest newborns! Among the births recently recorded, a pair of golden lion tamarins (Leontopithecus rosalia) who were born on March 13 after a gestation period of 130 days.

Lion tamarins are the largest species of the Callitrichidae: males can reach more than 700 g in weight. Although newborns are large as well (between 8 and 10% of the mother’s body weight!), it’s not always simple to spot them on the adults during the first days as they have the same color of coat. After a few weeks, the youngsters start to become more active and to open widely their eyes, making observations easier.

Golden lion tamarins live in family groups of 2 to 12 individuals. Generally, only the dominant pair breeds. They feed on fruits, nectar, gum and small animals.

The species, listed as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List, was part of an extensive reintroduction program in Brazil between 1984 and 2001. 43 international institutions, among which La Palmyre Zoo, provided the 146 individuals that were reintroduced during that time. Thanks to this action, the global wild population of golden lion tamarins now has more than 3,000 individuals, of which approximatively 1,000 are descendants of the zoo-born reintroduced animals.
Today translocations are regularly conducted in order to reinforce some populations in the global range of the species or remove other lion tamarins that could hybridize with them, and forest corridors are planted to allow golden lion tamarins’ free movement and sufficient genetic mixing of the population.
F. Perroux & M. Caillé