Critically Endangered Cotton-top Tamarin Twins Born at Potter Park Zoo for First Time in 10 Years

Kaiti Chritz | Potter Park Zoo
The twins were born in the early morning of Oct. 1, 2018. They will cling to their mother’s back for the first week of life. 

Potter Park Zoo is incredibly excited to announce the birth of two critically endangered cotton-top tamarins on Monday Oct. 1, 2018! There are only about 6,000 cotton-top tamarins left in the wild due to destruction their forest habitat in Colombia. For this reason, Potter Park Zoo’s cotton-top tamarins have a very important advocacy role to help visitors learn about and connect with the species and be a voice for their wild relatives.

This is the first successful pregnancy and birth for parents LG and Yuri. While there is still a risk of losing the infants, both parents have been attentive to the pair so far. For the first week of life the newborn monkeys spend their time clinging to mom, with dad assisting in grooming duties. Eventually, dad will take over the job of carrying the babies, with transfers to mom occurring for nursing. We expect to see the two starting to move around the exhibit on their own after 3 weeks of age.

These small monkeys (adults weighing in at about 1 pound) eat a variety of fruits, flowers and insects. Family groups often consist of the breeding pair and several offspring of different ages. Twins are common and breeding pairs may have up to two litters per year.

Potter Park Zoo was recommended to breed our pair of cotton-top tamarins by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan. Currently, there are 200 cotton-top tamarins in 60 AZA accredited zoos across the United States. The goal of the Species Survival Plan is to ensure a healthy and genetically diverse zoo population to keep the species stable.

Yuri, the father, arrived at Potter Park Zoo from the Oglebay’s Good Zoo in 2017 and was quickly introduced to LG, our female. LG was born at Potter Park in 2006 and her birth was the last successful birth at the zoo.

“We are cautiously hopeful,” said Sarah Pechtel, General Curator, “It’s an amazing opportunity to be actively involved in the continuation of this species.”

The cotton-top tamarins are on exhibit in the bird and reptile house. Visitors are asked to help keep the young family calm and comfortable by keeping their voices down while visiting and staying behind caution tape where it’s present.


Want to help these adorable babies and this important critically endangered species?

We’re raising money to renovate the cotton-top tamarin exhibit here at Potter Park Zoo! You can make a huge difference in this young family’s life by helping us create the best home possible for them. Make a donation and in the additional comments be sure to write “cotton-top tamarin donation.” Every dollar helps!

Consider being part of our “Adopt an Animal” program!