Cottontop Tamarins are one of the most critically endangered primates in the world. They have a large puff of white hair on the top of their heads which is where they get their name from. It looks like they have a cotton ball on top of their head. They can raise this hair up into a crust whenever they get excited or feel afraid. It makes them look bigger and more intimidating to a predator. There are only about 2000 wild breeding Cottontop Tamarin miniature monkeys. They are highly intelligent and social animals that can live up to 25 years. They communicate with each other using calls. There are 38 different calls to communicate with each other. They call to defend their territory and to call their young away from the danger of predators. Both males and females helped to care for the young. Babies are carried for up to six months by both male and female members of their group.
Cottontop Tamarins are declining in the wild due to habitat loss. Commercial logging for agriculture, paper, and other timber industries have encroached on their habitat. They are native to the tropical rainforest of South and Central America. They can be found predominantly in Colombia. Unfortunately, only 5% of their original habitat now remains in South and Central America. That’s why it’s such a wonderful surprise to find that they are being successfully bred in zoos in the United States and England.
One such zoo is the John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids MI. The John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids MI had a successful birth of twin Cottontop Tamarins. Additionally, the Idaho Falls Zoo, which is the first accredited zoo in the state of Idaho, recently had a baby named Ash born successfully to first time parents. Across the pond in Cheshire, England at the Chester Zoo baby Cottontop Tamarins are also being born.
A baby cotton top tamarin is about the size of an egg from your kitchen. They’re very small. A new baby is only about four inches tall from the tip of their head to the bottom of their tails. They weigh a little bit more than an egg at 1.4 ounces. A baby cotton top tamarin sex cannot be determined until they’re almost six months old. In order to help save the species many zoos have started to breed them. Chester zoo had their first baby born there in 22 years.
“We’re completely overjoyed. It’s incredibly special to be able to see the little one so soon after its birth, and after opening its eyes for the first time.” “We strongly suspected that Treat was pregnant from our regular monitoring of her weight and seeing her belly swell,” said Siobhan Ward, primate keeper at Chester Zoo. “But it was a fantastic surprise nonetheless to see a tiny little ball of fluff clinging onto her back one morning.””… “it’s actually dad who’s been doing most of the carrying so far, passing it to mum for feeds while he stays protectively close by.”
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