The black lion tamarin, the rarest of the New World monkeys

The black lion tamarin, the rarest of the New World monkeys - Culture's Ways

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The black lion tamarin, also known as the golden-rumped lion tamarin, is a lion tamarin endemic to the Brazilian state of São Paulo, almost exclusively at the Morro do Diabo State Park in Brazil. Its limited geographical range makes it the rarest of the New World monkeys, with little known about it.


What is the black lion tamarin?

It was thought to be extinct for 65 years until its rediscovery in 1970. In 2016 an adult couple was found to the east, in the Caetetus Ecological Station in Brazil, after six years with no sightings. 

The total number of individuals is estimated to be around 1000. Some experts believe this to be an overestimate, as recent studies have shown that the average area inhabited by the black lion tamarin is closer to 106 hectares (260 acres) than the previously estimated 66 hectares (160 acres). They are usually found in groups of 4 to 9, living in the secondary and primary forests along the circumference of its home range. On average, the black lion tamarin weighs 590–640 grams (21–23 oz).

Status and threats

The black lion tamarin is the most endangered species within Leontopithecus, and the IUCN has recorded their population to be declining. The main threat against it is the destruction of its habitat through deforestation, though it is also threatened by being hunted in unprotected forests.

There have been several attempts to bring black lion tamarins into captivity and to salvage what little habitat they have left within the Morro do Diabo State Park, as well as to increase breeding rates. Their population decline in the wild, however, could cause the black lion tamarins to become entirely endemic to the Morro do Diabo.

Image: By Miguelrangeljr, CC BY-SA 4.0
Text: Wikipedia contributors. “Black lion tamarin.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 22 Oct. 2017. Web. 4 Nov. 2017.


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