Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo



Squirrelly Behavior

2. A Smithsonian Scientist at Work

This is the spot for a video...
In this video , Jennifer Mickleberg describes how she sets up a golden lion tamarin behavior watch, and analyzes the resulting data to document significant behavioral characteristics of these animals.

Jennifer Mickelberg is a scientist at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. She studies the golden lion tamarin. These small monkeys are endangered in their only natural habitat, Brazil’s Atlantic coastal rainforest.

Jennifer is in charge of the golden lion tamarin breeding program at the National Zoo. She has also helped coordinate an exciting reintroduction program: golden lion tamarins born at the National Zoo were released into their native habitat in Brazil. Part of the reintroduction program has included a unique “free range” experience at the National Zoo, where golden lion tamarin families have lived outside any enclosures, in a special area of the Zoo, learning to live in the wild, forage for food, and find their own shelter at night. Still within a safe zoo setting, they were practicing living in the wild.

After watching the video, review the answers you gave on the student worksheet, “Building Background Knowledge,” and discuss with your class new things you may have learned about behavior watches. Did any of Jennifer’s information surprise you? Would you change any of your previous answers on your worksheet? After you finish discussing the video in your small groups, share your answers with your class. Now that you have learned how scientists use behavior to answer scientific questions and have a basic understanding of how to conduct a behavior watch, you are ready to design your own behavior watch of wildlife in the vicinity of your own school!