The is home to Pablo and Teodora, two golden lion tamarins that are the proud parents of a new baby. Their baby is so tiny that many visitors completely miss seeing it.
Golden lion tamarins are small monkeys native to the Atlantic rainforests of Brazil. Although they are small–averaging only about ten inches tall–they are actually the largest of their taxonomic family (callitrichids) which includes other species of tamarins as well as marmosets.
All members of the callitrichid family are highly arboreal. The golden lion tamarins, as well as the neighboring Geoffrey tamarins, put on a great show for zoo-goers as they bounce from branch to branch and make spectacular leaps across their exhibits much like they would do in the treetops of their native habitats.
Last year, Pablo and Teodora gave birth to Leandro who is now nine months old and playing the role of the proud brother. Callitrichids share parenting duties and juveniles often help carry an infant. Pablo and Teodora only let Leandro care for the infant for short stints, but it is good experience, since callitrichids have a social structure that involves a communal breeding system.
In the wild, the primary female of the group bears the infants but the entire group assists with the care. Leandro will need to learn this skill for when he is ready to start his own family.
These endangered primates are part of the Species Survival Plan, a cooperative breeding program administered through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) that works to ensure the genetic health of animal populations in zoos.
When visiting the zoo, be sure to look carefully at all three monkeys and see if you can spot a tiny head and little arms and legs holding on to the back of one of them.