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Golden Lion Tamarin Program


Zoo Atlanta is a proud partner with Associação Mico-Leão-Dourado (AMLD) – Golden Lion Tamarin Association. Our involvement with the program began in 1992 as one of several pipeline zoos where captive –born golden lion tamarins were allowed to free-range on zoo grounds in preparation for their eventual release to protected forest habitats in Brazil.

Two groups of tamarins from Zoo Atlanta were transported to Brazil in the late 1990s. Since 1984, the program has released 146 captive-born and 12 confiscated wild-born tamarins into protected forests. As a result of the reintroduction program, the number of golden lion tamarins has grown from fewer than 200 in the 1960s to approximately 3,200. After more than 25 years, including surviving founders and their offspring, reintroduced tamarins make up about 50 percent of the current population.

In 2008-2009, Zoo Atlanta helped to fund forest corridor construction to connect fragmented habitat. In 2011, Zoo Atlanta endowed an internship in the education program,“Rediscovering the Atlantic Forest,” which trains Brazilian teachers to develop school and community actions to assure the conservation of golden lion tamarins in perpetuity.


Zoo Atlanta and Associação Mico-Leão-Dourado (AMLD) – Golden Lion Tamarin Association


The focus of more than three decades of intense efforts to prevent its extinction, the golden lion tamarin has become the face of conservation in Brazil. Habitat loss estimates indicate that less than 8 percent of the original Atlantic Forest remains, with only 2 percent suitable for golden lion tamarins, much of which is fragmented. Habitat decline is a result of several cycles of settlement and deforestation for sugar cane plantations, agriculture, logging, charcoal production and urbanization.

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