September 22 2014 Latest news:
Friday, April 18, 2014
It may only be a week old but a rare addition to Banham Zoo is already monkeying around with its family.
The baby golden lion tamarin – which gets its name from its mane of orange hair – is one of the world’s most endangered primates.
Staff now face a six month wait until the tiny marmoset is independent enough for zookeepers to determine it’s gender.
Until then, the nameless baby will be looked after by its dad Kumquast and will only be returned to mum Rosa for feeding time.
Animal manager at the zoo Mike Woolham said: “At the moment it is very much a case of wait and see – there’s not a huge amount of influence that we can have.”
The golden lion tamarin - also known as the golden marmoset - is a small New World monkey, native to the Atlantic coastal forests of Brazil.
It is believed that the tamarin gets its distinctive hair colour from sunlight and pigments in its food.
They grow to be around 261mm and weighs around 620g.
Over the last few years they have lost all but two to five per cent of their original habitat in Brazil, making them one of the most endangered primates.
They are only active for a maximum of 12 hours daily.
But he added that the zookeepers know what warning signs to look out for.
“A baby tamarin will curl their tail up. If their tail starts to become very straight, it’s a sign of weakness. That will be an indication that all is not well,” he said.
The shy golden lion tamarins are so rare that only 1,500 live in the wild, with the majority in Rio de Janeiro. A further 450 are looked after in zoos worldwide.
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