Adelaide Zoo is delighted to welcome two Cotton-top Tamarins to the world, with mum Peppa giving birth to twins on Wednesday 18 October.
The whole family – dad Gomez and older siblings Pablo and Brenton – came out to say g’day and help support the tiny tamarins already clearly identifiable by the large white crest of hair on their heads.
Tamarins have a gestation period of 183 days, but once born early years life is very much a family affair.
“Not only will mum and dad share carrying duties of their offspring, but so too will the older offspring within the family group. It’s an important part of learning about parenting while supporting the group,” says Senior Keeper of Primates Pij Olinyk.
“Some primates such as baboons and mandrill mothers are highly protective and will hold onto their infant but Cotton-tops will share duties. All tamarin species will do that.
“There is an assumption that mum is doing most of the caring but they can travel a lot in the wild and it’s a lot for one individual.”
The sex of the babies – currently unknown – is set to be revealed shortly says Pij.
“It’s a case of being opportunistic, we should know in a few weeks,” he says.
The brand new additions can be seen hanging out, front and centre, within their habitat at Adelaide Zoo.
Cotton-top Tamarins are a critically endangered species with around 6,000 left in the lowland forests of Colombia, the only place in the world they are now found.
The different species of tamarins – Emperors and Golden Lion included – all come with distinct physical characteristics which make them unique and spectacular says Pij. Adelaide Zoo have three species of tamarin who can all be seen in and around the Tamarin House habitat, including a series of overhead tunnels allowing them to be amongst the treetops above zoo visitors.
Regular training to ensure the tamarin are relaxed enough to allow vet work is a must do.
“They’re good learners,” says Pij.
More positive news comes through longevity with the eldest tamarin Wednesday, who shares a separate habitat with Morticia, now in her 20th year.
“Wednesday’s health is strong. Animals are living longer in captivity as we learn more about nutrition and provide the highest level of veterinary support.”
Monarto Safari Park is also celebrating the birth of three Ostrich chicks. The tiny chicks can be seen following mum near the waterhole habitat at the park.