For Release: April 21, 2005
Peper Long (202) 633-3082 or (202) 391-2471
Golden Lion Tamarin Dies at National Zoo
A 5-year-old female golden lion tamarin died at the National Zoo last night, after months of extensive diagnostics-including MRI, X-rays and exploratory surgery-to determine the cause of chronic liver and gall bladder disease.
The cause of the disease is unknown, and final pathology results, which may shed light on the animal's condition, will not be completed for several weeks.
Golden lion tamarins are an endangered species of small primates, native to Brazil's Atlantic coastal forest. Their habitat has been fragmented into small, unconnected areas. The life expectancy for captive golden lion tamarins is approximately eight years for those that live past infancy. About 40 percent of infants die before their first year.
For more than 30 years, the National Zoo has worked with other zoos, conservation organizations and government agencies in Brazil to better secure a future for this species. The National Zoo has been a leader in golden lion tamarin propagation and reintroduction projects, and has returned more than 150 zoo-born tamarins back to the wild.