Golden lion tamarins are one of the few species to be successfully reintroduced to the wild. Offspring of these animals are living wild in their native Brazil.
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(aka Golden Marmoset)
Golden lion tamarins are small, squirrel-sized primates. They have long, silky golden-red hair, a dark hairless face, and a lion-like mane. Narrow hands with long, clawed fingers help them run and walk through trees and spring and leap between branches and vines.
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With 90% of their habitat destroyed, and as few as 1,600 animals remaining in the wild, golden lion tamarins are considered endangered. In recent years, several Brazilian landowners have set aside areas on their properties as private forest reserves where tamarins can be reintroduced and protected. The golden lion tamarin has become a source of national pride and a symbol of conservation.
The Minnesota Zoo participates in 23 Species Survival Programs (SSP), including The Golden Lion Tamarin SSP. Thanks to captive breeding with the SSP, this species is a conservation success story. Zoos have cooperatively bred and successfully reintroduced golden lion tamarins into the wild to increase genetic diversity in the remaining wild population. Offspring of these reintroduced animals are now successfully breeding in the wild.
The largest remaining protected area for golden lion tamarins is the Poço das Antas Biological Reserve in Brazil. Because the land surrounding the park is often used for subsistence farming, The Golden Lion Tamarin Association (Associação Mico-Leão-Dourado), has begun an environmental education program to encourage local families to farm in ways that provide income without harming the forest. The Minnesota Zoo, through its Ulysses S. Seal Conservation Grant Program, has provided funding for this project.