The Golden Child!
Wednesday 11 September 2002
London Zoo celebrates the birth of its first golden headed lion tamarin
London Zoo is celebrating the birth of its first golden headed lion tamarin. The baby, born on 19 July 2002, is currently to be found clinging onto the thick fur on the back of parents Manuel and Juanita and measures no more than 6cm and weighs in at approximately 100g.
Tamarin pair bond, usually giving birth to twins after a four-month gestation period, although Juanita and Manuel gave birth to only one young. The parents share raising their young, with the father or even older siblings carrying the babies on their back, and then returning them to the mother for suckling. Even though being a first time mother, Juanita has shown herself to be very protective, carrying her baby for most of the time. Youngsters remain dependent for at least the first six months; thereafter they will stay within the social group.
Initially the baby will suckle from its mother, before moving onto a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables and insects. Tamarins are sociable creatures forming tight family groups and will often share food and grooming to strengthen this bond.
Mick Carman, Head Keeper of Primates at London Zoo, said of the baby, "Being such an endangered species this really is fantastic for all of us here at the Zoo, but more importantly for Juanita and Manuel. This is not our only success for Brazilian species like the golden headed lion tamarins, as London Zoo has managed to raise £8000 which will go towards habitat protection in the Atlantic Rainforest as part of the EAZA campaign."
In the wild lion tamarins are only found in the Atlantic forests in the Bahia State, Brazil where they are listed by CITES (Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species) as endangered due to habitat destruction from logging and the creation of plantations and cattle ranches. They are currently part of an ongoing conservation programme that includes captive breeding, education programmes within Brazil and field studies into the species ecology and behaviour. Currently all golden headed lion tamarins are the property of the Brazilian government.
Contact: Leana Rochman
Tel: 020 7449 6361
Notes to editors:
- At birth the young weigh approximately 60g and measure approximately 2½ cm in body length
- This is the first baby for Juanita. Born in Lisbon on 16 July 1998, she then moved to Barcelona before coming to London in February 2002. Her partner Manuel, who has fathered before was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 1989, he then moved to the fresher climes of Marwell Zoo in 1990 before being drawn to the bright lights of the big city, arriving in London in 1998
- EAZA (European Association of Zoo's and Aquaria) - The year long campaign has been based at both London Zoo and Whipsnade Wild Animal Park and money will go towards the Lion Tamarin of Brazil Fund which will use the money to adopting a corridor of land to link fragments of forest holding populations of Golden lion tamarins. The campaign ends at London Zoo the end of September 2002. Next year the EAZA campaign will focus on the Sumatran Tiger
- Founded in 1826, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) is an international scientific, conservation and educational charity: our key role is the conservation of animals and their habitats. ZSL runs London Zoo and Whipsnade Wild Animal Park, carries out scientific research in the Institute of Zoology and is actively involved in field conservation in other countries worldwide
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