Gomez & Aya sitting in a tree…

Gomez arrived from Aalborg Zoo in Denmark and Aya arrived from Lyon Zoo in France.  Alma Park Zoo hope to have little Emperor Tamarins arriving later in the year from this match!

Our female Emperor Tamarin (Saguinus imperator)  “Aya” was born at Lyon Zoo in France.    Aya was genetically selected as a mate for male “Gomez” who originated from Aalborg Zoo, Denmark by the EEP – the European Endangered Species breeding program.

Becoming a member of this important international program was awarded based on an excellent track record of husbandry and breeding of primates, including marmosets and the Critically Endangered Cotton Top Tamarins.  This international transfer of a pair of Emperor tamarins marks the passing of a complex and lengthy process.

There are few Emperor tamarins remaining in Australasian zoos, which is why an import from overseas was deemed necessary by the Species Co-ordinator.   Gomez and Aya represent new genetics for the Australasian region and it is hoped they will produce offspring later this year.

Emperor tamarins are native to woodlands of the SW Amazon Basin.  A sub-species (S. i. subgrisescens) includes this range and also Bolivia.  In other areas such as Bolivia the IUCN classifies their status as indeterminate.   Although their natural range was previously remote and this species considered relatively secure (Least Concern, IUCN), their habitat is now impacted by deforestation for logging and cattle ranching, and populations of Emperor tamarins are decreasing.

They are listed as a Threatened species in Brazil and Peru, with other populations classed as indeterminate status due to lack of data.

The Emperor tamarin breeding program at Alma Park Zoo will contribute to ex situ conservation of these small primates, ensuring captive populations continue to include a sound genetic representation and remain healthy for the future.

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