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Common Name:  Golden Lion Tamarin
Scientific Name: Leontopithecus rosalia
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Family: Callitrichidae 
Genus: Leontopithecus
Species: L. rosalia


Golden lion tamarins are one of the smallest members of the primate family. These tiny monkeys are about 8 to 14 inches long and weigh less than two pounds. They got their name because of their mane of reddish gold fur around their heads that looks like a lion. They are found in the south east of Brazil in the tropical rain forest.

Tamarins have long narrow hands and long fingers which they use to search out insects and small animals. Most monkeys have flat nails like humans, but Tamarins have sharp curved claws on their toes which they use for holding on to the trees and branches. They move quickly and are very acrobatic, They eat fruit, insects and small vertebrates, They live in groups as large as 12-14 monkeys but usually groups are 5-6 in size, They are very protective of their territory which is usually about 100 acres. As the sun goes down, the tamarin group disappears. They sleep in protected areas like tree trunk cavities at night.

Tamarins were listed as an endangered species in 1982 because their natural habitat is being destroyed. They are also hunted for trade, to be placed in zoos, or for scientific research. They were also hunted by local people who believed that they carried diseases such as malaria and yellow fever.  There are only 400 golden lion tamarins left in the world.

In conclusion, the golden lion tamarin is a rare animal in danger of extinction. Scientists tried to repopulate them but they kept dying after the first year because they were not able to feed themselves. Scientists do not know if tamarins born in the zoo can ever live in the wild, but they hope that their babies will survive. We must do everything that we can to make sure these small monkeys survive.

Author: Cassidy O.
Published: 12/2012







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