Critically endangered twin monkeys born in Dubai rainforest

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Dubai’s only in-door rainforest is today celebrating the birth of its latest residents to join The Green Planet family: these adorable Cotton-top Tamarin twins.

Cotton-top Tamarins are small monkeys weighing less than 0.5kg and can usually be found in the northwest corner of Colombia.


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As a critically endangered species, with it estimated that only five percent of their geographic range remaining in the wild due to deforestation, The Green Planet entered a conservation breeding program to help ensure genetic diversity within the species.

Cotton-top Tamarins are known for their cooperative breeding and parenting; this means that there is a collective effort for both parents and the entire community to care for the young. Males are often known to help carry the young to allow the females to forage for food to produce milk needed by the young. When the young move from drinking milk to eating solid food, the father and community play a large role in offering the young different foods.

Victoria Lyn, the general manager of attractions leisure and entertainment at Dubai Holding said: “Cotton-top Tamarins historically play an important role in seed dispersal and fertilization within the rainforest – making them a vital part of the rainforest ecosystem.”

“However, in the early 60s and 70s Cotton-top Tamarins were often exported in their thousands to the US for medical testing related to colon cancer treatment.”

“Along with this, deforestation, and human activity has unfortunately meant that their population has rapidly declined in the wild. Through our conservation breeding program, like many around the world, we hope that we can help support in re-building a healthy population of the species.”

There is still a long road ahead for these first-time parents and successfully raising twins on their first time reproducing has a statistically low success rate. With that said The Green Planet team is cautiously optimistic that they will continuing to thrive and are ready to step in if the new parents need any extra support.

Cotton-top Tamarins are classified as a ‘new world’ species of monkey, who made their way across the ocean some 30 million years ago. When they’re alarmed or excited, their voluminous plume of white fur becomes raised in an effort to make themselves look bigger and more impressive.

Cotton-top Tamarins are highly vocal animals, using a variety of bird-like chirps, high pitch trilling, and staccato calls - some of which are too high-pitched to be heard by a human ear.

Female Tamarins will apply their scent-marking tactics to warn off any intruders, while males will use vocal threats, physical aggression, raising their hair and even sticking out their tongue.

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