Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Twins Times Two!! Congratulations to Resident Cotton-Top and Red-Handed Tamarins!

Congratulations are in order for Wildwood Wildlife Park's residents: Cotton-Top Tamarin father Titus and mother Tullia and Red-Handed Tamarin father Cleo and mother Clowee. Both resident couples are now proud parents of twins!

The Cotton-Top Tamarin is a small New World monkey, weighing less than one pound, is found in tropical forests. Newborn Cotton-Tops can equal 20 percent of their mother's weight! Breeding pairs of Cotton-Tops are monogamous and raising babies is a family affair. Both Titus and Tullia take turns carrying their babies on their backs.

Cotton-Top Tamarins vocalize with birdlike whistles, soft chirping sounds and high-pitched trilling. They get their name from the long white hairs on their forehead that flows over their shoulders. They also have loud territorial songs as well as songs when it is excited.

The life span of Cotton-Top Tamarins in captivity has been as high as 25 years, in the wild the life span is about 13-16 years. The wild population is estimated at about 6,000 (source). Fewer than 300 Cotton-Top Tamarins make up the captive population; the population in Columbia are literally losing ground in the wild due to forest destruction to provide land for agricultural purposes and timber for fuel and housing.

Cotton-Top Tamarins are now protected by international law; they are critically endangered and are considered to be one of The World's 25 Most Endangered Primates.

You can see these beautiful little monkeys in their enclosure right next to the river otters at the Wildwood Wildlife Park.

Proud Red-Handed Tamarin father Cleo and mother Clowee are also busy with their newborn twins. Most tamarins have traditional white fur around their mouths except for the Red-Handed Tamarins; their face and body are mostly black. Their hands and feet are orange-red in color, which is why they are also known as the Golden-Handed Tamarin or Midas Tamarin.

Unlike other primates, Red-Handed Tamarin have claws instead of nail on all of their digits with the exception of their big toes. Also, their thumbs lack the saddle joint which allows for opposable thumbs.

The Red-Handed Tamarin is an exceptional climber and spends most of its time among the vines and branches of the trees. They are quick and agile and are superb jumpers known to jump distances of over 60 feet from a tree to the ground with no sign of injury.

Like all new babies at Wildwood Wildlife Park, the Cotton-Top and Red-Handed Tamarin twins are very important additions to a highly endangered species.

Wildwood Wildlife Park along with other zoos are working together to save species like Cotton-Top Tamarins and Red-Handed Tamarins by optimizing genetic diversity and ensuring a healthy captive population which in turn we can hope to save the endangered species from extinction in the wild.