Golden lion tamarins born at Zoo Atlanta
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Leap Year brings two tiny signs of spring
Robin, a 5-year-old golden lion tamarin at Zoo Atlanta, gave birth to three infants on Saturday, February 25. One of the infants did not survive, but the surviving two appear to be thriving.
The Animal Management and Veterinary Teams will continue to monitor Robin and her newborns closely. Infant mortality is not uncommon in golden lion tamarins, which weigh only around 2 ounces at birth. While Robin is exhibiting appropriate care for her newborns, her mate, 5-year-old Theo, will take over as primary caregiver in a matter of weeks. This is typical behavior for golden lion tamarins, and Robin and Theo are experienced parents with three previous offspring.
Native to Brazil’s Atlantic coastal rainforests, golden lion tamarins are a conservation success story, thanks in part to animals from Zoo Atlanta. The Golden Lion Tamarin Conservation Project, actively supported by Zoo Atlanta since 1992, once focused on reintroducing captive-born tamarins to Brazil. Originally devised to allow the monkeys to learn the climbing and foraging skills necessary for survival in the wild, “Golden Lion Tamarin Boot Camp” resulted in the successful reintroduction of several Zoo Atlanta-born tamarins. The multi-institutional partnership ultimately proved so successful that wild habitats reached carrying capacity, and zoos are no longer reintroducing new individuals.
The wild golden lion tamarin population, which stood at just 250 in the mid-1980s, now numbers more than 1,600. Zoo Atlanta continues to support efforts to connect fragmented forest territories in Brazil to promote expansion of the species’ existing habitat.
Stay tuned for updates on when Members and guests will be able to see Robin and her new arrivals.
Update as of March 1, 2012: A newborn golden lion tamarin at Zoo Atlanta passed on February 29, 2012, following an accidental fall. The 4-day old primate was one of two surviving infants born to Robin on February 25.
Infant mortality is not uncommon in golden lion tamarins, which weigh only around 2 ounces at birth. While this arboreal species is well-adapted for life in the trees, falls from even short distances can be fatal for tiny newborns in the first fragile days of life.
Robin’s remaining infant appears to be thriving in the care of its mother and father, Theo. Stay tuned for updates, and visit soon for a glimpse of the newest member of the Zoo Atlanta family.