Golden Lion Tamarin
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Facts and Knowledge:
The golden lion tamaran has a coat that "shines like gold dust in the light."  It is a close relative of the marmoset and is one of the most endangered of all animals..  The golden lion tarmarin occupies only a tiny and shrinking area of the equatorial forest regions of Brazil in South America.  Its two close relatives, the golden headed lion and the golden rumped tarmarins, live in similarly small locations in the states of Bahia and Sao Paolo and are equally as endangered.

Habitat: The golden lion tamarin inhabits primal forest (forest that has not been affected by man). It lives high in the tree tops.  Because it is sensitive to direct sunlight, it usually re treats into dense foliage during the hottest part of the day. It needs continuous forest canopy for survival.  The golden lion tarmarin spends its day in quarrelsome play with other tarmarins. It jumps easily through the trees, using its elongated fingers to hold onto branches.  Unlike many other monkeys, it does not use its long tail to grasp branches. The tamarin lives in family groups. Although sociable within its family, it is very aggressive with intruders.  If startled, the tamarin raises its mane, bares its teeth, and makes high pitched streaks. Sometimes adults of the same sex fight to the death.

Breeding: The golden lion tamarin stays with one partner and breeds throughout the year. The male assists at the birth and washes the young usually twins.  The newborns tarmarin looks like it parents, but its hair and many are short,  It clings tightly with its hands and feet to either of its parents. Every two or three hours the male gives one young to the female. She nurses it for about 15 minutes and then hands it back to the male.

When the young tarmarins are about there weeks old , they begin to explore their surroundings. They continue to ride on their parents backs for a bout a month.  At four weeks, the parents give their young soft food, although they are not yet weaned.  They can be on their own at three or five months but continue to run to their parents if danger threatens.  Many young stay with their parents, never leaving the large family group.

Food & Feeding: The golden lion tarmarin is an omnivore: it eats both meat and plants.  It collects food in its treetops home, such as fruits, flowers, and plants nectars. It also searches in the branches for insects, frogs, lizards, snails, and bird eggs.

Golden Lion Tamarin & Man: With its striking appearance, the golden ion tarmarins has long been hunted as a prize exhibit for zoos.  Since the seventeenth century it has also been popular as an exotic pet. Until 1960, the capture and export of this animal were legal. But these practices still continue illegally today.  Unlike some of its relatives, the golden lion tamarin does not settle in disturbed forest. The ever increasing demands put on the forest by man has meant that much of the animals natural habitat has been destroyed.  This is the main reason that it has become endangered.

The United States began a program to re introduce the golden lion tamarin into selected areas, particularly the Poco d'Anta Reserve, near Rio de Janeriro. But much of the reserve was destroyed by fire, forcing many of the 75 to 150 tarmarins living there to move into areas that are not suitable as habitat.

Key Facts: Sizes, Weight, breeding, lifestyle, related Species
Length:  Head and body, about 1 ft. Tail, slightly shorter.
Weight: 1 1/2 pounds

Sexual maturity: About 15 months
Mating season: Year Round
Gestation: 5 months
No of young: usually twins, 1-3 sometimes

Habit:  Sociable in family groups, Aggressive to intruders.
Diet: Fruit, flowers, tender vegetation, insects, and small vertebrates.
Life span: 10 to 15 years
Related Species: There are 8 marmosets and 14 tarmarins in the family The genus has 2 other golden tamarins; the golden headed lion and the golden rumped tamarin.
Distribution: Found only in a stretch of coastal forest in South Africa, near Rio Sao Joan, and the Poco d'Anta Reserve in Brazil.
Conservation: The tamarin is critically endangered everywhere, mainly through loss of habitat. It has recently been bred successfully in zoos around the world. Over 40 animals have been re introduced to the rain forests of southeast Brazil.

Did you know:
Only two or three percent of the golden lion tamarin's original wild habitat still exists.
Grooming is an important part of the golden lion tamarin's daily activity. It helps to reinforce family ties.  Tamarins even pick and clean each others teeth.
The male golden lion tamarin has been observed feeding the young.
The marmoset and tamarin group of monkeys in cludes the smallest monkey of all: the pygmy marmoset, which is only five and a half inches long. The golden lion tamarin is the largest member of it family.

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