Taronga Zoo has announced the birth of the Sydney attraction’s first cotton-top tamarin in 10 years, and visitors can now go and catch a glimpse of the tiny baby monkey scampering around and jumping up trees.
The primate, native to Colombia in South America, is one of the rarest species in the world. Cotton-top tamarins are one of the smallest monkeys on the planet, weighing less than 500g at their heaviest and growing up to about 26cm tall, not including their tail, as an adult. The tiny monkeys are known for their distinctive white mohawks, which grow with age and have often seen them compared to punk rockers.
These monkeys are critically endangered, with only 6000 wild cotton-top tamarins to be found in their native home. They have lost more than 75 percent of their original habitat to deforestation and are also under threat from the illegal wildlife trade, making this new birth at Taronga Zoo an outstanding achievement in the preservation of these wonderful animals.
Keepers at Taronga Zoo are yet to determine the sex of the rare primate as the infant is currently too young – it is only six weeks old at the moment – but keepers have revealed that the baby has started to explore its surroundings as well as climbing trees and cheekily grabbing food out of its parents’ hands.
Taronga Zoo is located on the shores of Sydney Harbour in the suburb of Mosman. The zoo cares for 350 species, of which there are over 4000 animals in total, many of which are endangered. It also carries out an admirable range of projects, from conservation, breeding programs and animal welfare to a wildlife hospital looking after the newborn and sick animals.