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Cotton top tamarin

Saguinus oedipus

Cotton top tamarin

The cotton top tamarin is a small member of the New World monkey family, which means that it is one of the five families of monkeys found in Central and South America. Cotton-top tamarins are one of the most endangered primates in South America and are only found in the rainforests of north western Colombia.

This tamarin is a very sociable monkey and inhabits its territory with the rest of the troop. The female usually gives birth to twins and the father, siblings and the rest of the family group play an active role in child-rearing duties.

Animal class


Diet - Omnivore
Cotton top tamarins eat fruit, seeds, gums and small animals such as insects, mice and birds.

Cotton top tamarins can measure up to 240 millimetres (mm). Their tails measure up to 400mm and they can weigh up to 430 grams.

Cotton top tamarins are found in secondary or tropical forests in north-west Colombia.

Conservation status
The IUCN believes that they face a high risk of extinction in the wild. They are listed under Appendix I of CITES.

The biggest threat to a cotton- top tamarin is the destruction of their habitat for ranching, farming and the building of roads. They are also captured for the illegal pet trade and biomedical research.

Current population
Experts believe that there are less than 2,000 cotton top tamarins left in the wild, with their numbers ever decreasing.

Zoo population
There are more than 1,200 cotton top tamarins living in zoos worldwide and there is an EEP for this species.