In 2007, the Zoo marked the 22nd year of its free-ranging GLT program. In June of that year, a GLT family was released in Beaver Valley for the summer. The family includes a male, Eduardo, and a female, Laranja, and four of their offspring. The outdoor exhibit includes a nest box, ropes that mimic the jungle vines of the tamarins' native Brazilian forest habitat, and food stations. The GLTs were returned to the Small Mammal House in late October.
The Zoo's free-ranging program has been put on hold due to the Elephant Trails project.
Golden Lion Tamarin Family Inside for 2008
The GLT family that was free ranging in Beaver Valley in the summer and early fall of 2006 and 2007 will not be free ranging in 2008 due to construction of Elephant Trails.
Several golden lion tamarins, including those that were free ranging in the past, can be seen at the Small Mammal House.
The Zoo has been working to save these small Brazilian monkeys for more than 30 years.
As part of the Zoo's Golden Lion Tamarin Watch, FONZ volunteers monitored the free-ranging tamarins, in shifts, 12 hours a day every day, recording their actions for behavioral research. Their observations were described in the weekly Monkey Messages.
Tamarins are territorial and tend to stay within a few hundred feet of their nest. The Zoo's adult free-ranging tamarins were fitted with radio collars so scientists could track them when they went out of sight. If the tamarins wandered too far, scientists could sound a recorded tamarin territory call near the nest box to attract the monkeys back to Beaver Valley Trail.
The free-ranging tamarins were presented with a variety of ways to get food to encourage them to forage and explore. Some food was left in hanging trays, some put in tubes with small holes, and some hidden in crevices. Tamarins' long slender fingers and arms are made for probing into small spaces. And the location of the food was changed often to keep the tamarins exploring.
Whether you can come to the Zoo to watch the tamarins in the Small Mammal House or you read about their free-range adventures in Monkey Messages, we hope you will learn all about these fascinating animals.
Other zoos with free-range tamarins include the Oregon Zoo, Houston Zoo, and Philadelphia Zoo.