Brazil (Atlantic Coastal Forest)
Golden lion tamarins are endemic to a small area in Brazil’s Atlantic Coastal Forest, with only 2 percent of their habitat remaining. Due to habitat loss and more historically, the pet trade, there were an estimated 200 golden lion tamarins living in the 1970s. This led to the development of a comprehensive conservation program that includes habitat protection and restoration, translocation of wild animals to safe forest habitats, a successful cooperative breeding program in zoos, reintroduction of zoo-born GLTs, and an education outreach program. Zoo Atlanta is partnered with the Golden Lion Tamarin Association, a Brazilian non-governmental organization, to conserve the tamarins and their habitat in perpetuity. Conservation efforts have helped increase the number of golden lion tamarins in the wild to around 3,000! This is great news for the tamarins, but we still have work to do. Their habitat remains fragmented and degraded so we are working hard to help create more connections between forest patches and reforest more areas as well as managing the population for long term viability.
This is Spree, a golden lion tamarin you can visit at Zoo Atlanta. She is an important ambassador for her wild cousins!
Why do they need you?
Golden lion tamarins are an important flagship species for the Atlantic Coastal Forest, a rare and special forest with a record number of endemic species. This forest supports more than 60 percent of the Brazilian population and provides clean drinking water, clean air, and many other resources. By protecting golden lion tamarins, we are protecting every species that lives there, including humans!
How is Zoo Atlanta helping?
Zoo Atlanta has participated in golden lion tamarin conservation for nearly 30 years. Two family groups from Zoo Atlanta have been released in Brazil to support the wild population. Zoo Atlanta is a long-term partner of the Golden Lion Tamarin Association. Zoo Atlanta scientists are working with the Association to develop viable population plans for the species in the wild to ensure long-term survival. The Golden Lion Tamarin Species Survival Plan® and International Studbook are also based at Zoo Atlanta.
Dr. Jennifer Mickelberg
Senior Director of Collections and Conservation at Zoo Atlanta
Jennifer is a small population biologist who focuses on integrative approaches to conservation to promote long-term population viability. She has been working on golden lion tamarin conservation for the last 16 years, managing the zoological populations and working with partners in the field to develop management strategies for their population.Meet Jennifer
Want to learn more?
Beyond the Zoo
Learn more about Zoo Atlanta’s commitment to saving species.
The global decline of species and their habitats makes it clear that we need a multifaceted approach to conservation. Zoos are a critical component of this approach, with a responsibility to be a force that drives action.View the Report