Second golden headed lion tamarin birth for London Zoo
Thursday 20 February 2003
London Zoo is celebrating the birth of its second golden headed lion tamarin
The as yet unnamed baby was born to parents Manuel and Juanita on 4 February 2003 and follows the birth of the Zoo's first golden headed lion tamarin on 19 July 2002.
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.
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.
Notes to editors:
- At birth the young weigh approximately 60g and measure approximately 2½ cm in body length
- This is the second 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.
— ENDS —