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two golden lion tamarin monkeys sitting on tree branch
All Animals

Golden Lion Tamarin

Only perhaps two percent of their original habitat in Eastern Brazil remains today. To help save the species from extinction, hundreds of golden lion tamarins have been born and raised in zoos and released into the wild.


Animal Facts

Scientific Name

Leontopithecus rosalia


East coast of Brazil near Rio de Janeiro

Location in the Zoo

Carruth Natural Encounters

Cool Animal Fact

They sleep in tree holes at nights for warmth and protection from predators; they are nest cavity dwellers like all marmosets and tamarin species.

How We Help Save Them

Golden lion tamarins were near extinction in Brazil, but zoos, including the Houston Zoo, have worked together to breed the tiny monkeys for release into protected forests; today there is a thriving population of golden lion tamarins in the wild.

Where to See Them Inside the Zoo

Living with the howler monkeys in this mixed species habitat are a pair of small, bright orange golden lion tamarins. These boisterous monkeys weigh less than a pound each and use roughly 40 different screams and chirps to communicate what is happening around them.

On the ground, guests will spy a couple of red-rumped agouti. These unusual rodents have large front teeth that can crack through a Brazil nut and can use their powerful back legs to jump as high as six feet in the air. These rodents are the “cleanup crew” of South America’s forests. Monkeys are messy eaters, so plenty of fruits and nuts fall to the ground for agouti to forage.