The golden lion tamarin is a small, squirrel-sized monkey. It is covered in long silky golden fur. The face, hands and feet remain bare. The feet have sharp claws (most other primates have nails) that are useful for gripping and climbing branches and also for grabbing their insect meals.
During the day the golden lion tamarins roam their territory looking for food. Their diet consists of sweet fruits, insects and small lizards. Their long slender fingers are very useful for probing into the cracks in the bark where they often find their food. They will also feed on the forest floor, rummaging through the leaf-litter in search or insects.
As evening falls, the tamarins return to their nest, usually a hole in a hollow tree or a tangle of vines.
Golden lion tamarins live in the heavily populated coastal region of Brazil, where less than two percent of the forest remains.
They sleep in tree holes, which are used for heat conservation and protection from nocturnal predators.
These tamarins are one of the most endangered mammals in the world, with less than 1000 surviving in the wild, mostly in a small patch of rainforests known as Reserva Biologica de Poyo das Antas, near Rio de Janiero. Ninety percent of their original forest habitat has been cut down. Numbers in the wild have increased from a low of 400 in the 1970's.
We are one of many conservation charities working hard to manage this population in human care, to help the survival of this important animal.
The golden lion tamarins' fur colour depends on how much these tamarins are exposed to sunlight - with a lot of sunshine their fur becomes a dark, golden orange, while during times of very little or no sunshine the tamarins' fur takes on a lighter orange hue.
Diego is our newest arrival - born to mum Missy and dad Dourado. You can read more about him in our recent press release here.
You can find our golden lion tamarins inside our Zona Brazil exhibit
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