Birth of cotton-top tamarin twins
Our female cotton-top tamarin (Saguinus oedipus) has recently given birth to twins. This is the first birth for our pair created one year ago. The babies are now 3-weeks old and are doing very well.
Cotton-top tamarins are easily recognizable by the crest of white hair around their head. They usually live in small groups composed of 10 to 15 individuals who spend their day foraging for food. They mainly eat fruits, except during the dry season as they are more scarce. Cotton-top tamarins thus eat gum, nectar, insects. They are able to produce 40 different vocalizations that are used for delimiting their territory, indicate food or predators.
In tamarins and marmosets, all the group members take care of the offspring: the mother breastfeeds her babies but the father and the other individuals are carrying them when they are not suckling. This cooperation offers advantages: the non-mature individuals practice their future parental skills and the male reinforces its privileged access and its relationships with the female.
The almost total deforestation of the cotton-top home range associated to the collect of thousands of wild specimen for medical research purposes in the 60s nearly pushed the species to the brink of extinction in Colombia. It now numbers about 6,000 individuals but is listed as Critically Endangered on the UICN Red List.
Since the end of the 80s, the Proyecto Titi, supported by La Palmyre Zoo, is managing a multidisciplinary conservation programme that has been studying groups of cotton-top tamarins in the wild, educating local communities and working to create several protected areas.