• Their rich color is thought to be a product of sunlight exposure and the presence of carotenoids in their diet.
• A special characteristic of these primates (callitrichids) is their tendency to birth twins, unusual among primates because of the immense time and energy it takes to care for just one infant. 78% of all births in wild golden lion tamarins are twins and the energetic demand of caring for two has shaped their social structure and cooperative breeding patterns.
THREATS & CONSERVATION
Once, golden lion tamarins were captured and sold as pets. Their rapid decline in numbers has thwarted many people’s desires for these exotic pets. Although wild populations are improving from captive-bred individuals (1/3 of wild species originated from captive stock), they are still threatened, and continuing conservation is essential to ensure that the enormous successes thus far are not undone.