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Golden Lion Tamarin Dies at the Smithsonian's National Zoo

  • small monkey and sloth

The National Zoo is sad to announce the death of 7-year-old golden lion tamarin Pepe, who died overnight at the Vet Hospital. A final pathology report will provide more information. The median life expectancy of a golden lion tamarin is 8 years in the wild.

A few weeks ago, keepers noticed that Pepe had labored breathing. Diagnostic tests revealed thoracic disease. Zoo veterinarians removed fluid from his lungs and were able to stabilize Pepe. Despite treatment with supportive care and medications, he was found unresponsive this morning.

Pepe lived in a mixed-species exhibit with a Saki monkey, an agouti, a three-banded armadillo and a Linne's two-toed sloth. He was often seen napping on and interacting with the sloth. Pepe was an ambassador for his species, illustrating the behavior and social nature of golden lion tamarins to visitors and staff alike. Pepe and his twin sister, Izabel, were the last surviving set of golden lion tamarin twins born at the National Zoo. Izabel died earlier this year. Zoo visitors can see four golden lion tamarins on exhibit in the Small Mammal House.

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Photo Caption: Golden lion tamarin Pepe rests atop Vlad, a Linne's two-toed sloth.

Photo Credit: Clyde Nishimura, FONZ Photo Club