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Cotton-top tamarin monkeys make public debut at Oregon Zoo

Photo Credit: OREGON ZOO/PHOTO BY MICHAEL DURHAM - Three surviving corron-top tamarin monkeys are now on dispaly at the Oregon Zoo.Oregon Zoo vistors can now see the three cotton-top tamarin monkeys who served a lengthy trip across the country.

Six other tamarins died shortly after arriving at the zoo from Harvard Medical School. The stress of the trip is believed to have caused their deaths.

The surviving tamarins, all siblings, have fully recovered and been moved to the a newly refurbished spot in the zoo's Fragile Forest section. It includes three indoor areas filled with plants and vines, as well as a rooftop area where the monkeys can spend time outdoors away from zoo visitors.

“We’ve been spending a lot of time watching the cotton-tops, making small adjustments to their home to make it as comfortable as can be,” said Asaba Mukobi, the zoo’s senior primate keeper.

Compared to their 150-pound chimp neighbors, tamarins weigh only about 14 ounces. They are about the size of a squirrel, making them the smallest primates at the zoo.

A video of the tamarins at the zoo can be seen at www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFrRkGNQkxY&feature=youtu.be

According to zoo officials, cotton-top tamarins are considered critically endangered in their native Colombia, where an estimated 75 percent of their original habitat has been destroyed over the past 20 years. The remaining population of roughly 6,000 cotton-tops is threatened by continued deforestation, even in protected areas.

For more information on cotton-tops, visit www.oregonzoo.org/discover/animals/cotton-top-tamarin.