Posted April 2017
The Small Mammals building has a new addition! A golden lion tamarin was born on February 6 to mom, Levi, and dad, Basil. The pair’s first offspring, Paisley, was born in April 2016. Zookeepers named the baby Sage; the sex will be determined at a later date.
Big sister, Paisley, has been observed carrying Sage around the exhibit on her back. Zookeepers note that this is great practice for Paisley for when she eventually becomes a mom herself. However, the majority of the time it is dad, Basil, who carries Sage—giving mom some much-needed rest when she’s not nursing. Recently, the new baby has been venturing off on its own and beginning to climb branches, although it’s typically not too long before dad or Paisley scoop it back onto their backs.
A primate weighing only about two pounds, golden lion tamarins reside in rainforests along the Atlantic coast of South America, particularly Brazil. They typically feed on insects, small lizards, bird eggs and fruit, and can live up to 25 years in captivity. Often living in social groups of 6-12 individuals, they are highly communicative with many distinct vocalizations.
Although the golden lion tamarin is classified as endangered, successful captive breeding and reintroduction programs have increased wild populations. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimates that approximately one-third of wild golden lion tamarins originated from captive populations. Thirty years ago, golden lion tamarins were on the verge of extinction from habitat loss and fragmentation resulting from deforestation.
For more information on conserving this unique animal, visit the website of “Save the Golden Lion Tamarin” here. To meet Levi, Basil and new baby Sage, stop by Small Mammals on your next visit.