Durrell celebrates the birth of endangered monkeys

This summer, Jersey Zoo keepers were delighted by the arrival of two endangered black lion tamarins! Born at the zoo on the 12th of July, these precious babies are the first of the species to be born outside of Brazil since 2011.

The new arrivals are a welcome addition to Durrell’s breeding programme, which was set up almost 30 years ago to safeguard the species while its home range continues to be under threat.

Commenting on the zoo's newest arrivals, Durrell’s Head of Mammals Dom Wormell says, “This is wonderful news! The species is under extreme threat in the wild due to having a very restricted habitat with isolated populations.

“The changing climate is having a big impact in the west of São Paulo state in Brazil where the tamarin comes from. The dry season is getting longer and the lack of rain means that the females who give birth at the beginning of the wet season struggle to find enough food. A conservation assurance population is a vital component of the species’ conservation strategy.”

Jersey Zoo is currently the only place outside of Brazil that houses black lion tamarins. In 2017, five individuals arrived at the zoo from São Paulo following a special fundraising initiative, which relied on public donations to help cover transport costs of getting them to Jersey.

Dom continued, “The import of the Brazilian animals last year brought new blood into what remained of the European population, giving us the chance to build a strong conservation assurance population. It is great that the support people gave to us has now come to fruition with this being the first mother reared infants in Europe in at least 15 years.”

Durrell has been working in Brazil to build up numbers of the species in captivity and in the wild for many years now. Working with partners, we run workshops on the captive care of tamarins and support the planting of tree corridors to link isolated populations.

In addition to the new tamarin babies, this year we have also welcomed two pygmy bearded chameleon hatchlings, two silvery marmoset babies and seven Critically Endangered Livingstone’s fruit bat pups.

Senior Mammal Keeper, Edward Bell, is delighted with the zoo's newest additions, in particular the Livingstone’s fruit bats. “The pups born this year contribute massively to growing the captive population. Our captive bat numbers were initially slow to grow but by having over seven bat pups born per year for three years in a row, we should start to see numbers climb steadily in the near future. This is a great success for us here at Jersey Zoo and it shows that the Island Bat Roost is really paying off.”

Durrell’s husbandry and captive breeding knowledge is based on decades of experience and training. By working with the animals every day, our keepers are constantly developing and advancing their husbandry and captive breeding capacities, which can then be applied to our conservation programmes around the world.