Cotswold Wildlife Park is home to two adorable ‘punk rock’ monkeys

There is the crackle of particularly tiny feet at the Cotswold Wildlife Park this week, after the birth of two rare monkeys – described as ‘punk rock primates’

The zoo, near Burford, has welcomed the arrival of twin Cotton-Headed Tamarins – just in time to celebrate International Cotton-Headed Tamarin Day, tomorrow.

The remarkable eleven-week-old babies were born to the park’s new breeding couple, Johnny and Trillian, and can be seen by visitors in their enclosure in front of the entrance to the Madagascar lemur exhibit.

Cotton tamarins (Saguinus oedipus) are considered one of the 25 most endangered primates in the world and are listed as Critically Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, making them one of the the rarest monkeys in South America.

The white fur on their heads can be raised and lowered creating a striking punk-type fan display, leading tamarind expert Dr Anne Savage also describes them as “punk-rock primates” due to their impressive manes. .

Rampant deforestation and gold mining have destroyed around 95 percent of their natural habitat. In the wild, rare creatures are confined to a small corner of northwestern Colombia. There are around 6,000 individuals left in the wild, an extremely low number considering their numbers once hovered between 20,000 and 30,000 in the 1960s and 1970s.

New Father Johnny is an important person for the European Endangered Species Program with an incredibly pure blood line. Births are considered by the park as an important addition to the program helping to ensure the genetic diversity of the species.

Each member of the family plays a specific role when it comes to raising the young. The dominant male spends the most time carrying babies – the mother carries them for the first week of life, then holds them only to suckle. Females are pregnant for six months, and babies weigh about 15 percent of their mother’s body weight.

Natalie Horner, the park’s primates, small mammals and birds section chief, said: “Our pair of cotton-headed tamarins are once again proving to be wonderful parents to our newcomers. The twins are already busy exploring their enclosure, getting bigger and bigger and braver every day ”.

Cotton tamarins are New World monkeys and are part of the Callitrichidae family.

The park’s adult male was named after famous punk star Johnny Rotten and the female is named after a fictional character from the sci-fi novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Oxford Mail: Cotton-headed Tamarins at Cotswold Wildlife Park

“Punk-rock” primates

• Up to 40,000 cotton tamarins were captured and exported for use in biomedical research before 1976 (when they received the highest level of protection and all international trade was prohibited).

• Cotton tamarins have over 40 vocalizations used to communicate everything from finding food to approaching predators.

• The white fur on their head can be raised and lowered, creating a striking punk-like fan display. Tamarind expert Dr Anne Savage describes this species as “punk rock primates” because of their impressive manes.

• Tongue clicking or “tongue” is a unique behavior of Tamarin used in many contexts, including aggression and mating.

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