Two endangered golden lion tamarins have taken up home at the Curraghs Wildlife Park. The rare primates were due to arrive from a French zoo in April, but their move was delayed due to the global health emergency.
Named after their colour and impressive mane, the species is native to the tropical rainforests of Brazil, where at least 95% of their original forest habitat has been cut down.
Having brushed with extinction in the 1970s, experts now estimate there are around 3,200 left in the wild, largely thanks to intensive conservation efforts. Also known as golden marmoset, they live primarily in trees and feed on fruits and small insects.
Kathleen Graham, the Park’s manager, said: ‘It is great to finally see them here as we’ve been planning this for two years. We will monitor them both whilst they settle in before they’re given access to their own Island to explore. They will live with us until the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) find suitable breeding partners from their collection.’
Geoffrey Boot MHK, Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture, said: ‘It is fantastic that the Isle of Man can play a part in their conservation story. This is a species, once on the brink of extinction, so it is a great opportunity to learn more about them.’
As part of the application to bring tamarins to the Wildlife Park, written permission was granted by the Brazilian Government, as all golden lion tamarins are owned by Brazil.