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Golden lion tamarin
Known as lion tamarins because of their fine mane of hair, these miniature monkeys have lost all but 2-5% of their original habitat in Brazil. This is made up of forest fragments, each one too small to sustain a viable population, and therefore without careful management they could all die out.
The golden lion tamarin was bred for the first time at Durrell’s Jersey headquarters in 1980. Shortly afterwards, it was established that there were actually more golden lion tamarins living in captivity than in the wild, and one of the first primate reintroduction programmes commenced. The importance of preparing the monkeys for a very different life to is critical to the success of the release programme and therefore since 1990, groups of the various species of tamarins and marmosets cared for by Durrell have learned how to thrive in a complex habitat, such as a rainforest, by living free in our woods.
Ongoing work in Brazil involves further reintroductions of captive-bred golden lion tamarins, translocation of groups to safer areas, studies of them in the wild, local education and training as well as habitat protection and restoration. This concerted effort resulted in an improvement in its status, from Critically Endangered to Endangered, in 2003.