The zoo celebrated the birth of the rare monkey on Twitter
explaining that the youngster, named Grace, was too weak to hold her mother, so staff stepped in and hand-raised the baby.
“Thanks to the incredible efforts of the keepers, she is now back with her family and thriving,” the zoo said.
Black lion tamarins are considerably smaller than the feline that gives them their name: the pint-sized monkeys, named for their lion-like manes, weigh between 1 and 2 pounds when fully grown.
Tamarins are a family of small monkeys found in South America. The black lion tamarin is an endangered species found only in a small part of the forest in southern Brazil, according to the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, which runs the zoo. They are also sometimes called the golden-rumped tamarin because of their easily identifiable “shiny golden rump,” according to the New England Primate Conservancy.
According to the conservation, most of the wild population of black lion tamarins resides in an isolated region inside Morro do Diabo State Park in the state of São Paulo, Brazil. The species was thought to have been extinct for almost 50 years until it was rediscovered in 1972. The International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies the monkeys as “endangered”, believing that it only about 1,600 black lion tamarins remain in the wild due to deforestation and logging.
The tamarin’s endangered status makes the birth of a black lion tamarin at Jersey Zoo all the more significant.
The zoo, which specializes in rare and endangered species, was the first to successfully breed a black lion tamarin in captivity in 1990, according to its website. The zoo has since released captive-bred black lion tamarins into the wild in Brazil.
In the video posted to the zoo’s Twitter, the zoo’s mammals manager, Dom Wormell, explained that as a female, Grace could “have 10 to 12 babies in her lifetime, which will go a long way to strengthening this captive breeding program for black lion tamarins.”
“We need to build that captive population so that hopefully we can restore populations to the wild,” he said.
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