Update (July 3): The Smithsonian’s National Zoo reports that one of the golden lion tamarin babies born on Friday died Tuesday morning.
Zoo officials say that the baby possibly fell off one of the parents while moving between branches.
As the National Zoo said on Monday, golden lion tamarins tend to have a high infant-mortality rate, with about half of them dying before reaching the age of one year.
Earlier (July 2):
Mo and Izzy are proud to announce the birth of their two new babies at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo.
The two golden lion tamarin babies were born on Friday, June 29 and are reported to be healthy, according to a statement from the zoo.
The baby monkeys are the first born to the parents. When they are older, vets will be able to determine their gender.
Since they were born, the babies have been clinging to mother Izzy’s back. Soon, father Mo will begin to carry them all the time except when they are nursing. At about five weeks old, they will begin to explore the zoo habitat. They will be weaned at about three months.
Golden lion tamarins, with their reddish-gold fur and mane, are native to the forests of southeastern Brazil and have been considered endangered.
Thirty years ago, there were as few as 200 tamarins alive in the wild. But thanks in part to conservation and breeding programs conducted by their human cousins, the primates have made a comeback. There are now about 3,200 in the forests, which is the maximum the habitat can sustain.
Golden lion tamarins have a high infant mortality rate with about half of the infants dying before their first birthday. Zookeepers will closely monitor the family to help keep the babies healthy as they grow.
Of the golden lion tamarins now living in the wild, about one-third are descendants of those raised by humans, including at the National Zoo.
Visitors can view the entire golden lion tamarin family and the Zoo’s other pair of golden lion tamarins, Diogo and Julie, in the Small Mammal House every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Read more about the programs to save the golden tamarins: