Meet the gang of golden lion tamarins 

The golden lion tamarins live alongside the emperor tamarins near Café Dodo. Although they’re small, their golden coats make them (slightly) easier to spot. In the wild, the tamarins are facing extensive deforestation of their rainforest home. Sadly there are now more golden lion tamarins in captivity than in the wild. Thanks to conservation efforts, many tamarins were translocated and released into safe nature reserves in Brazil. Their conservation status has now improved, but deforestation of their natural habitat continues at an alarming rate. 

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Animal facts

Key facts about the golden lion tamarin

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I’m found in Brazil 

Golden lion tamarins are only found in the coastal rainforests of southeast Brazil. 

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My favourite food is Insects 

Golden lion tamarins are omnivores. They eat insects and other small invertebrates, fruits, flowers and gum from trees. 

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My coat changes colour in the sun 

When golden lion tamarins spend a lot of time in the sun their coats become a lighter golden colour. 


mature adults in wild


average weight

20+ years

lifespan in captivity

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Golden lion tamarins face many threats in the wild 

The south-eastern area of Brazil where golden lion tamarins live is heavily populated, and only 2% of their rainforest habitat remains. During the 1970s, it was estimated that only 200 golden lion tamarins remained in the wild. This was due to extensive deforestation and being captured for the pet trade.

We successfully bred our first golden lion tamarins here at Jersey Zoo in 1980. As reintroduction of the species was vital to save the wild populations from extinction, in 1990 we began to free-roam this species in Tamarin Woods so they knew how to navigate a forest habitat safely. Golden lion tamarins have now been released into the wild, and populations have been translocated to nearby nature reserves in Brazil. This conservation work led the golden lion tamarin being reclassified from critically endangered to endangered in 2003 but captive populations and intensive management of their wild habitat is still vital. 

Help us care for the golden lion tamarins