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April 21, 2018  |  Login

Golden Lion Tamarin
Leontopithecus rosalia

What Are They Like?

The tiny and agile golden lion tamarin is one of the world's rarest primates. A defining characteristic is the long fur on its neck and face, which resembles a lion's mane. Its fur is silky and completely golden. Both males and females have an average height of 10 inches (26 centimeters) and weigh less than 2 pounds (900 grams). These dexterous primates are equipped with long slender fingers and claw-like nails, which allow them to easily pick food from hard-to-reach places.

Where Do They Live?

Golden lion tamarins are arboreal (tree dwelling) animals and inhabit the Atlantic coastal rainforests of Brazil.

Did You Know?
Golden lion tamarins divide infant care between all members of the group.

How Are Babies Made?

Golden lion tamarins have monogamous mating habits and typically breed once a year. After a gestation period that lasts for 126-136 days, mothers will usually give birth to twins.

What Do They Eat?

Golden lion tamarins mainly eat fruits, but are known to sometimes eat insects and lizards.

Did You Know?
Unlike most primates, Golden lion yamarins have claws instead of fingernails.

What Do They Do?

Golden lion tamarins are highly social animals and live in tight family units consisting of a single breeding pair and their offspring. During the day, they spend their time in trees, foraging for food. During the night, they sleep in hollow tree cavities, which offer warmth and protection from predators.

How Concerned Should We Be?

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which keeps a "Red List" of species in danger worldwide, lists the Golden lion tamarin as "endangered." The biggest threat they face is habitat loss due to urban and agricultural development. The rapid deforestation and fragmentation of their natural habitats has led to isolated populations and caused problems such as inbreeding.

What's Being Done?

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has worked with the Brazilian government to establish the Sao Joao Environmental Protected Area in Rio de Janeiro. The WWF is also working to create 200,000 square meters of tree corridors to link the scattered habitats within the Atlantic Forest of Northern Rio.


Golden Lion Tamarin

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