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Conservation of the Golden Lion Tamarin

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Photo: Biodôme de Montréal (Claude Lafond)

The golden lion tamarin, Leontopithecus rosalia, a small Brazilian monkey that is surely one of the most beautiful monkeys in the world, is a species designated as rare and in danger of extinction. In 2004, 1,180 golden lion tamarins were documented in the Brazilian forest, of which 550 were bred in captivity.

Fortunately, it is not too late to save the species. The Biodôme is one of 144 institutions participating in a species survival plan. As of December 31, 2008, 497 golden lion tamarins were living in captivity in 144 zoological institutions around the world. The objective of the program is to obtain a population of 2,000 golden lion tamarins in the wild by breeding in captivity followed by reintroduction into the forest, preserving the habitat essential to their survival and completely stopping illegal trafficking.

Since the first couple was introduced into nature in 1984, a major increase in numbers has been observed. Without the conservation program, the risks of inbreeding could have decimated the species.

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