The Zoo Announces the Birth of Two Cotton-Top Tamarins

cotton-top tamarins photoThe Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens is pleased to announce the birth of two cotton-top tamarins. This is the first birth for the male and female tamarins at the Zoo. Considering that cotton-top tamarins weigh one to two pounds fully grown, these young are quite small. The parents and babies are currently available for viewing daily during Zoo hours 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Cotton-top tamarins are one of several species at the Zoo that are involved in the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP). SSP’s are managed breeding programs for individual species that are vanishing from the wild.

"We are dedicated to the conservation of all species," said Philip Flynn, President & CEO, "This birth not only contributes to the efforts of the AZA's Species Survival Plan, but allows Zoo visitors to learn and be inspired by this engaging animal's plight in the wild."

Cotton-top tamarins are about the size of a squirrel and are one of the most endangered primates in the world. The species was declared endangered in 1973 following the exportation of 20,000 to 40,000 tamarins to the United States for use in biomedical research of colonic adenocarcinoma, a type of cancer. Today, their greatest threat is due to deforestation for agriculture, fuel, and housing. Zoos are instrumental in helping restore native populations; in fact, the number of cotton-top tamarins in the wild has doubled from about 2,500 in 2011 to 6,000 today.

Cotton-top tamarins are found chiefly in the tropical rainforest areas of northwest Columbia. The tail length exceeds the head-to-body length and adult tamarins are 16-36 inches overall. They have a crest of long white hair from their forehead to nape that flows over the shoulders. They are monogamous breeders and provide extensive parental care, including carrying their babies on their backs.