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Black lion tamarin
Known as lion tamarins because of their fine mane of hair, miniature monkeys like these have brains as well as beauty – in proportion to their body size, they have more grey matter than humans! Since 1990, groups of the various species of tamarins and marmosets kept at Durrell have learned how to thrive in a complex habitat, such as a rainforest, by living free in our woods.
The Critically Endangered black lion tamarin (BLT for short) was bred for the first time at Durrell in 1990. This had never before been accomplished outside its native Brazil. In 1999 we reached a crucial stage in the species’ recovery programme – a group of BLTs trained in our woods returned to Brazil for reintroduction to the wild.
Just 3% of the BLT’s original habitat remains. This is made up of tiny fragments of forest – each one too small to sustain a viable population of tamarins. Without careful management they would probably all die out eventually. Ongoing work in Brazil involves the mixing of wild and captive BLTs, studies in the wild and protection of the remaining forest. We hope our efforts will give this little lion the best chance of survival.
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