Rare Tamarin Triplets Born at John Ball Zoo

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Early in the morning on March 28, the care team at John Ball Zoo discovered not one, not two, but three Cotton-top Tamarin babies had been born overnight.

The birth of triplets in this species is unusual. Most often, females give birth to twins. So far, parents Lilo and Kevin are providing excellent care for their trio of newborns.

IMG_7581 editPhoto Credit: John Ball Zoo

These tiny primates live in small family groups, with the males and other troop members helping to care for infants. Adults weigh only about one pound.

Cotton-top Tamarins are native to the forests of northwestern Colombia, but only about 5% of their original forest habitat remains intact. As a result of this drastic habitat loss, Cotton-top Tamarins are listed as Critically Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

About 6,000 Tamarins are thought to survive in the wild. It is believed that 40,000 Tamarins were collected and sold for biomedical use before 1976, when international trade was banned.

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