Potter Park Zoo Celebrates the Birth of a Cotton-Top Tamarin Baby

Potter Park Zoo is delighted to announce the recent birth of a critically endangered cotton-top tamarin baby to parents Yuri and LG June 9, 2023. This significant event marks the fifth successful litter for the pair in the past five years, underscoring their vital role in the zoo’s breeding program. The arrival of this adorable infant brings the cotton-top tamarin family group to a total of eight members. 

Cotton-top tamarin social groups adhere to a strict hierarchical structure, wherein one monogamous pair retains exclusive breeding rights. The older offspring adults play a vital role in raising the newborns through a cooperative practice known as alloparenting. This system not only alleviates the mother’s responsibilities but also imparts valuable child-rearing experience to the juveniles. Observations from the zoo’s animal care team reveal that the baby is actively nursing and exhibiting growing curiosity about their surroundings each day. The older siblings have eagerly taken on the task of caring for the infant, who will gradually gain independence by five months of age. 

Cotton-top tamarins are a highly endangered primate species. Their population is critically low primarily for two reasons: they are often captured and traded illegally as pets, and their natural forest homes in Columbia are being destroyed for activities like cattle ranching, farming, and urban expansion. Currently, there are only around 2,000 adult cotton-top tamarins left in the wild. Potter Park Zoo, in collaboration with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP), received a recommendation to breed the cotton-top tamarin pair. The AZA SSP plays a crucial role in promoting the well-being and genetic diversity of zoo populations. Currently, approximately 200 cotton-top tamarins reside in 60 AZA-accredited zoos throughout the United States.  

“We are thrilled to witness the continued reproductive success of our cotton-top tamarin pair, Yuri and LG,” said Dr. Ronan Eustace, Director of Animal Health at Potter Park Zoo. “Their offspring not only contribute to the long-term survival of this endangered species but also serve as ambassadors for conservation and education.” 

The animal care and veterinary teams will continue to provide attentive care and monitoring to ensure the well-being and development of the growing cotton-top tamarin family. Guests are encouraged to visit this adorable infant and the rest of the tamarin group in the reptile house. Stay tuned for updates on the zoo’s social media platforms. 


Potter Park Zoo is home to nearly 350 animals, including critically endangered black rhinos, endangered red pandas, Massasauga rattlesnakes, and spider monkeys. The zoo is open 364 days a year, providing visitors with a unique opportunity to learn about and appreciate the diverse wildlife of our planet year-round. To learn more about Potter Park Zoo and the incredible animals in their care, visit: