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Birth just in time for Father's Day at Cotswold Wildlife Park

Cotswold Wildlife Park

This Father’s Day Cotswold Wildlife Park is delighted to announce the birth of Critically Endangered Cotton-top Tamarins twins and celebrate one of the most devoted dads in the animal kingdom.

Human dads receive plenty of recognition on Father’s Day but the animal kingdom also has its share of committed fathers. While many males play a role in the rearing of their young, Cotton-top Tamarin fathers go above and beyond when it comes to raising their offspring.

New dad Johnny (named after Sex Pistol star Johnny Rotten due to his punk-like mane), is proving to be one of the animal kingdom's top dads. After giving birth, his partner Trillian carried her infants for just 1-2 weeks before passing over parental duties to Johnny who took over the task almost entirely. During this time, he only passed the infants back to their mother to suckle. Scientists have discovered that Cotton-top Tamarin fathers actually put on weight when the female is pregnant because they share so many of the rearing responsibilities.

Cotton-top Tamarins are one of the world’s 25 most endangered primates and are classified as “Critically Endangered” by the IUCN, making them one of South America’s rarest monkeys. Rampant deforestation has destroyed an estimated 95% of their natural habitat and they have experienced a population reduction of over 80% in the last 18 years. It is estimated that there are between 300 and 1000 Cotton-top Tamarins left in Colombia - a devastatingly low figure, considering their numbers once ranged between 20,000 and 30,000 in the 1960s and 1970s.

Assistant Animal Manager at Cotswold Wildlife Park, Chris Kibbey, said: “We are delighted with the birth of another set of twins (pictured left) from our Critically Endangered Cotton-top Tamarin pair, which bring the family size to eight! Whereas many animals 'leave home' once they mature - either through their own choice or through encouragement from their parents, Cotton-top Tamarins will remain in the family group and will take on the role of 'helpers', assisting with the baby-sitting of the youngest members. This also allows the helpers to learn how to care for young, which enables them to become better parents themselves in later life”.
Chris added: “Unique among Callitrichids (small monkeys from South America), dads play a very important role in the care of the young, taking them and cleaning them soon after birth. The father will then carry the babies (usually twins) for the majority of the time, returning them to their mother to feed.  Our Cotton-tops are part of a well-managed European Breeding Programme and once the young have experienced caring for their younger siblings, they will go on to form breeding pairs in other zoos, ensuring the captive population remains stable and healthy”.

Explore Gloucestershire
14 June 2023


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