Ownership of Tamarins Transferred to Brazil

The Los Angeles Zoo and six others across the country has transferred ownership to the Brazilian government of about 400 endangered golden lion tamarins, natives to Amazon rain forests. But the strawberry blond, squirrel-sized primates--named for their lion-like manes and tails--will remain in the U. S. zoos.

The Los Angeles Zoo and others have cooperated in a program designed to foster the tamarins’ recovery through scientific management, exchanges of animals among zoos and reintroductions to the wild.

The Los Angeles Zoo has 14 golden lion tamarins, two of which are displayed in its South American section. Worldwide, there are about 1,000 of the primates. Since 1984, golden lion tamarins from zoos have been returned to protected areas in Brazil. But only 2% remains of their original habitat in the Atlantic coastal rain forest, zoo officials say.