Cotton Top Tamarin Monkeys twins born

16th May 2023

The birth of critically endangered Cotton Top Tamarin Monkeys twins at award winning Yorkshire Wildlife Park has boosted hope to save the species.


 The Cotton-Top Tamarin monkeys were born safely to mum Conseula and dad Maurice only 11 months after the birth of another set of twins last June.

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 third set of 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 several 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”.

Since being introduced to each other, parents Maurice and Consuela had previously  welcomed two sets of twins to the park in August 2021, and June 2022.

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.

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.

The tiny Cotton Top Tamarins can be found in the South American area at Yorkshire Wildlife Park, alongside the Red Howler Monkeys, Giant Anteaters and Capybaras.



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