Critically Endangered Cotton-Top Tamarin Monkeys born at Yorkshire Wildlife Park!
7 June 2022
Yorkshire Wildlife Park is celebrating the birth of two critically endangered Cotton Top Tamarin babies
The Cotton-Top Tamarin twin monkeys were born safely to mum Conseula and dad Maurice, arriving just in time for the park’s platinum Jubilee party.
The baby Monkeys, who are one of the smallest primates in the world, are a critically endangered species, and the park has been designated as a conservation hub to help save them from extinction.
Easily recognisable by their eccentric looking long white crested hairstyle, Cotton-tops live in small forested areas of North-western Colombia where they forage through the middle forest canopy to find fruits and small insects to eat.
YWP’s Primate team leader Greg Clifton said "These are the second babies for Maurice and Consuela. Parental care is shared in cotton-top families, with infants carried on the backs of their mum, dad and older siblings for the first four months.
“The Primate Team here at YWP are very happy with the additional births as over the last year we have bred numerous critically endangered primates including Roloway and Red Howler monkeys.
“YWP helps the European breeding programme by keeping and now breeding this species, and I also support this myself as a member of the Cotton-top Tamarin species committee, which advises the European Endangered Species programme (EEP).
"I have been working with Cotton-tops for nearly 18 years, both in wildlife parks, but also in the wild in north-western Colombia too”.
In the late 1960s almost 30,000 Cotton-top Tamarins were exported to the USA for biomedical research. Today, deforestation and human activity poses the greatest threat to this species. Colombia is losing its tropical rainforest at a dramatic rate due to deforestation and agriculture.
The arrival of two more Cotton Top Tamarins is an important milestone for the EEP due to the declining population of Cotton Top Tamarins in the wild, which is now around 6,000.
Parents Maurice and Consuela were only introduced to each other for the first time by the park's Primate Team in February 2021 and had their first set of twins in August last year.
The tiny monkeys weigh around the same as a small bag of sugar and are only ten inches long. Cotton Top Tamarins play a crucial role in acting as seed dispersers in tropical ecosystems. They mainly live high up in trees on the top branches feeding off fruit, seeds, insects and the occasional lizard.