Year of the Monkey: Golden Lion Tamarins

DSC_1920By Abby Varela

Last month you were introduced to the golden-headed lion tamarins. Did you know there were three other kinds? There’s the black-faced lion tamarin which has a black head and an orange body, the black lion tamarin with all black fur except for an orange posterior, and the golden lion tamarin. True to their name, golden lion tamarins are completely covered in orange-gold fur that gets brighter the more time they spend in the sunlight. On average, golden lion tamarins are slightly larger than their close relatives, making them the largest of all the tamarin species. But that’s like saying they’re pretty big for a little monkey. At 400 to 800 grams, an adult weighs about the same as a can of soup!

Like all lion tamarins, wild golden lion tamarins can only be found in Brazil but you can see Zuno and Coari at the Natural Encounters Department of the Houston Zoo. Zuno is a male that was born at the Houston Zoo 11 years ago and Coari is a 4 year old female that came to the Houston Zoo a year ago to be his companion. Coari and Zuno could not be more different, but they go together like two peas in a pod. Zuno has always been more skittish. He is hesitant to shift into holding and is shy around new people. He swears the world is about to come to an end when he spots the star tortoises moving around on the ground beneath him. Coari on the other hand is bold, daring, has a, let’s say “strong” appetite and is definitely a positive influence on Zuno. When Zuno vocalizes his fear of the tortoises, Coari can be seen going about her business grooming herself, sunning, eating, etc., while still giving Zuno comforting chirps until he calms back down. When keepers are shifting these tamarins, Coari comes in right away and shows Zuno that there is nothing to fear and that there are plenty of great rewards for shifting. Of course, Zuno never wants to be far from Coari. He has a long history of getting along well with the pygmy marmosets that share his exhibit. Coari has taken greatly to Zuno’s friends as well and now all four can be seen frequently playing together, grooming each other, or sunning together.

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Now that you know Zuno and Coari, let’s talk some about wild golden lion tamarins, as they have an interesting conservation story… In 1992, the population ranged from 200-600 individuals, classifying them as critically endangered. They were divided in groups across 14 different forests with some being isolated to the forests they inhabited. The biggest problem they faced was deforestation and fragmentation of their habitat. Over the past 30 years zoological and conservation institutions have worked together through the Golden Lion Tamarin Conservation Program of the National Zoological Park to establish new populations through relocation of 47 individuals that were isolated, which would lead to their populations eventually dying out. The individuals were moved to the União Biological Reserve and the numbers were also increased by the reintroduction of captive born individuals to the wild. Approximately one third of the wild populations are descendants of individuals from this program. Currently, the population in União Biological Reserve is thriving and is projected to be at maximum carrying capacity.  In 2003 this population’s status was switched to endangered. There are now approximately 1,000 golden lion tamarins in the wild, with few suitable habitats left to expand the population to. If they inhabited all suitable areas, the population would most likely still remain below 2,000 individuals, which is enough to save the species in the short term, but not enough to have this species around for decades to come.

At this point, the key to saving this species at this point is continued population management and reforestation to connect the fragmented pieces of habitat.

So what can you do? One of the most fun ways you can help is visiting Zuno and Coari, where part of the money paid for each Houston Zoo ticket goes directly into conservation. You can change your everyday practices by reducing, reusing and recycling paper.

You can also donate directly to the cause through Save the Golden Lion Tamarin at http://savetheliontamarin.org/. This organization supports the Associação Mico-Leão-Dourado, which is leads international efforts to save golden lion tamarins. They are currently working to reconnect forest fragments where tamarins live, educating local people, and monitoring and protecting the wild tamarins.



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This morning, we humanely euthanized our male, 20-year-old jaguar, Kan Balam. Due to the tremendous care provided to him by his keepers and our veterinary team, Kan Balam lived well beyond his expected lifespan. Jaguars expected lifespan in the wild is between 12-15 years.

The carnivore staff and veterinary team made the decision after his quality of life began to decline. Quality care and continuous advances in veterinary medicine extends animals’ lives longer than ever, with most felines in human care living well beyond previous generations. Because of this, all cats, including domestic house cats and jaguars, often spend a significant phase of their lives as older animals, and are at a higher risk for geriatric complications.

Read more about Kan B, and the love his keepers had for him on our blog: www.houstonzoo.org/blog/mourning-loss-geriatric-jaguar-kan-balam/
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This morning, we humanely euthanized our male, 20-year-old jaguar, Kan Balam.  Due to the tremendous care provided to him by his keepers and our veterinary team, Kan Balam lived well beyond his expected lifespan. Jaguars expected lifespan in the wild is between 12-15 years. 
 
The carnivore staff and veterinary team made the decision after his quality of life began to decline. Quality care and continuous advances in veterinary medicine extends animals’ lives longer than ever, with most felines in human care living well beyond previous generations. Because of this, all cats, including domestic house cats and jaguars, often spend a significant phase of their lives as older animals, and are at a higher risk for geriatric complications.

Read more about Kan B, and the love his keepers had for him on our blog: https://www.houstonzoo.org/blog/mourning-loss-geriatric-jaguar-kan-balam/

 

Comment on Facebook

Soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur; happy kitty, sleepy kitty, purr purr purr #RIP #bigbangtheory

I know he lived a lot longer due to the excellent care he got at the Zoo.

Is this the one that had the limp?

This was my daughters favorite critter at the Zoo. We always went to say hello to him before anyone else whenever we went. When she was 7 years old we sent a post out to out neighborhood on Halloween saying Paisley was asking for pocket change donations in lieu of candy for Halloween and all amounts would be donated to Kan thru the zoo. She raised over $40 in coins! I still have the letter from the zoo thanking her for her donation. He was a sweet boy and will be missed. 😔

I saw him limping about 2 weekends ago. The first time we walked by he was fine. When we walked by on the way out he was limping and moaning pretty loudly. I wondered what happened but I figured his keeper already knew or would find out shortly. Super Sad. He was always a lively one.

Dunno if the Zoo staff considered him a pet but he was certainly a family member, and because of that i offer this: RainbowBridge Author Unknown Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable. All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind. They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster. You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart. Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Jaguar habitat is in the Zoo or Jungle's? ??or is only entertainments for person's? ??$$$$$$$!.Sorry animals the person's don't love you ..

Thank you Houston Zoo for taking such good care of him and all the animals! I've been going to this zoo since I was little bitty. I always enjoy it.

Aww. When interning in the carnivore dept he was one of my faves. So smart! Ashley remember when Angie was teaching him to do the moonwalk after Michael Jackson passed?

Aww I’m so sorry for the loss, I’ve seen him many times, he was absolutely gorgeous! I’m glad that you guys were able to make him comfortable, sometimes the best thing we can do is let them be at peace. Will miss this handsome guy; play hard at the Rainbow Bridge friend, day hi to my cat, Junior for me!! Much love to the HZI staff!!

Jaguars are one of my favorite and he seems like a sweet boy. I'm so sad but I'm happy he can be painless and be free now. RIP❤️

Beautiful jaguar ....so grateful for the Houston Zoo keepers and veterinary team that gave their time and efforts to share this awesome jaguar with us for so many years.

Thank you for doing what was right and kind for Kan Balam even though it was hard and painful for you. That’s true love for an animal. ❤️

What a great long life he lived because of his excellent care at the zoo Thoughts go out to his keepers and the entire Houston Zoo staff

Thank you to you and your staff for the years of quality care given this magnificant creature.

Sending love to the keepers that are broken hearted right now. And thank you for all the care you’ve given.

RIP Kan Balam. You have given the visitors so much pleasure just watching you over these years. You were taken care of by top notch professional handlers, etc.

I'm so sorry for your loss. Thanks for taking such great care of him so he was able to live a long life. My thoughts are with his keepers and all who adored him. <3

I am soo sorry for the loss of this handsome fella Kan Balam. May he rest in peace and run free or any pain over the rainbow bridge.. My heart and prayers go out to each and every one of the staff at the Zoo.

Aww, so very sorry for your loss, Houston. Condolences to his keepers and all who loved him. ((((Lorie Fortner)))) He surely lived a long life with the great care he received at Houston.

Katie Rose Buckley-Jones I won’t ever forget the time you asked him to bring something and he ripped off a piece of cardboard and tried to hand it to you ❤️ thank you for introducing me to him. Sending you guys many hugs

He was well-cared for and most of all well-loved. My heartfelt condolences to those missing Kan B as well as me. What an amazing ambassador for his kind. What a beautiful old gentleman. Thank you for loving him into old age and giving him peace.

So sorry to the keeping staff for your loss i cant imagine how youre feeling :( his old age is a testimony to the amazing care he received

I will miss him. The last time I saw him he looked tired, and it appeared his foot was bothering him.

Sad to hear of this. Thanks for taking such good and compassionate care for him and the other animals.

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Social Media Guy to Sea Lion Keeper: Can you send me a pic of you working with the sea lions in this chilly weather?

Sea Lion Keeper: Sure... (sends picture next to sea lion statue)

SMG: I'm still using this.
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Social Media Guy to Sea Lion Keeper: Can you send me a pic of you working with the sea lions in this chilly weather?

Sea Lion Keeper: Sure... (sends picture next to sea lion statue)

SMG: Im still using this.

 

Comment on Facebook

Are there some zoo animals that enjoy this weather?

SMG is another reason why Houston Zoo is the best Zoo!

Happy New Year “sea lion keeper “ 💖💖

More snow for TJ and Max ❤️ lucky them!

Are we positive that’s the statue rather than it really just being that cold? 😛

That’s my best friend Sophie for ya! 😂

Brrrrr

Omg the Zoo is so awesome 😂😂😂 Alana Berry

Omg be warm sweetoe

Haha!! Good one!

Sweetie 💞

Ashley Jucker 😂

Mike DePope

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