43 institutions in 8 countries participated in the GLT reintroduction

Forty three institutions, including 41 zoos, one primate center, and one university research colony, were home to the 146 captive-born golden lion tamarins that were reintroduced to the wild in Brazil between 1984 and 2001. 

These institutions were located in eight countries on three continents, making this reintroduction arguably the most collaborative, international conservation effort in history.

Save the Golden Lion Tamarin Board Members completed a comprehensive listing of all insitutions and individual tamarins that participates in the reintrodctions in Brazil. These reintroductions were vital for the wild population, allowing the number of golden lion tamarins in the wild to reach its current estimate of 3,200 individuals. 

Detailed information about reintroductions can be found here on Save the Golden Lion Tamarin's website.


Translocating Tamarins for Genetic Diversity

On June 9th, Associação Mico-Leão Dourado's (AMLD) Metapopulation Management Team (Meta) translocated, or moved, 10 GLTs of the “SP” group from a small and isolated forest fragment to a large forest in the center of AMLD’s GLT management area. These GLTs are descendants of zoo-born tamarins reintroduced in the 1990’s and have yet to meet their first “native” GLT. This translocation is important because it transfers genetic diversity from the large and well-managed captive GLT population into the wild GLT population managed by AMLD. It’s also evidence of AMLD’s ability to scientifically manage the wild population.
 Meta team leader Andreia transports tamarins  (Photo by Andreia Martins)
Moving a group of GLTs from one forest to another is technically difficult and requires much preparation. The SP group lived on privately owned forest and was part of AMLD’s Forest-Friendly Ecotourism strategy. This GLT group was already accustomed to the presence of human observers, had individual dye marks and tattoos, and two adults carried radio collars. Prior to the translocation, Meta pre-baited the traps for weeks in order to ensure that all group members would be captured when the traps were opened.
The Meta team releases the tamarins in their new home. (Andreia Martins)
On the day of the translocation everything went as planned. AMLD captured the group early in the morning and transported the GLTs to the release site. When the traps were opened, the GLTs fed on bananas provided by the Meta team and then headed off to explore their new forest. Meta is monitoring their progress.

 The recently moved GLTs enjoy a snack before exploring their new habitat. (Andreia Martins)

The group that was translocated is known as the SP group. The SP group can be traced back to seven zoos on two continents. It was founded in Brazil in 2003 by wild-born offspring that were descended from Jorge’s group, which had originally been reintroduced in 2000, and the Olympia group, which had been reintroduced in 1996. The founding male of the SP group was known as JG8, who was born in Brazil in August of 2000, and OL15, who was born in Brazil in October of 2000.

The breeding female of the original Jorge’s group was born at Paignton Zoo in the U.K. and the male was born at the Mill Mountain Zoo in Roanoke, Virginia. They were paired at the Brookfield Zoo in Brookfield, Illinois and were reintroduced with four offspring that were born at Brookfield.

The breeding female of the original Olympia group was born at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska and the breeding male was born at the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, South Carolina. They were paired at the Sunset Zoo in Manhattan, Kansas, and then moved to Zoo Atlanta in Atlanta, Georgia, where they produced two offspring with whom they were reintroduced.  



AMLD is a finalist for Brazil's National Biodiversity Prize. Please vote and share!

The Associação Mico-Leão-Dourado’s golden lion tamarin conservation program has been chosen as one of 18 finalists for Brazil’s National Biodiversity Prize!  The winner will be chosen by an internet vote now open to the public till May 19!  

Here’s how to vote:

1. Go to and look for the colored box with Conservando a Mata Atlântica para manter uma população viável de micos-leões-dourado.   Be careful since many initiatives have similar names.

2. Click on the orange box marked VOTAR to the right of the initiative name.

3. In the white box enter the letters that appears in the black box above.

4. Click on the ORANGE box  - Sim, é esse mesmo! (Yes, it’s this one!) at the bottom of the window.



TR10 - The story of a 17-year-old tamarin

On November 20th of 2014, the golden lion tamarin field team trapped a group of GLTs on the Rio Vermelho ranch in Brazil. One had the tattoo “TR10." Andreia Martins, the team coordinator, was astonished to find that this GLT, a female, was more than 17 years old!  Andreia’s carefully maintained database showed that TR10 had been born on the ranch on September 17, 1997. She was still in good physical condition but her teeth were worn to the gum line. Nonetheless, the observers saw her eating fruits and even insects, and her weight seemed normal. One member of her group was seen carrying two infants. The team could not determine if they had been born to TR10, although she certainly has had many infants over the years.

TR10 in 2015. Photo by Andreia Martins.

The discovery of such an old tamarin raises the question of their longevity. A wild GLT known as “GLT3” was trapped with her family and rescued from a patch of forest that was being cut down by its owner in 1983. GLT3 was one of the first tamarins to be trapped by Jim Dietz in his now-classic field study. She had been born in 1981. Jim relocated GLT3 and her family to the Poço das Antas Reserve, where she survived 10 mates and gave birth to 34 offspring before her death in November 1998, also at the age of 17.

According to Jennifer Mickelberg, who maintains the studbook for captive golden lion tamarins and studies the conservation genetics of wild tamarins, the median age of captive golden lion tamarins is between 7 and 8 years. About 10% of all captive female golden lion tamarins live to be 17. The record age is 31 (a captive male), and the oldest captive female lived to be 25. But mammals generally live longer in captivity than in the wild because they have a steady supply of nutritious food, good veterinary care, and no predators. It’s therefore really noteworthy that TR10 and GLT3 both made it to 17—and that Andreia’s team was able to document these results.

The detailed scientific records that have been kept by GLT scientists for more than three decades reveal some additional interesting details. TR10’s father, known as “T3”, had been born in the Stockholm Zoo in Sweden and had been reintroduced to the wild on the Rio Vermelho ranch in 1992. He had a rocky start in the wild, and had to be rescued several times after he was reintroduced. But he survived and paired up with TR10’s mother, “E6,”who had been born at the Emmen Zoo in the Netherlands and had also been reintroduced in 1992. T3 lived to be 9, but E6 lived to be at least 16 ½ years old. Perhaps longevity runs in families?

Remarkable longevity has a downside. Golden lion tamarins that live too long tend to fill the available breeding opportunities with their many offspring, which prevents unrelated tamarins from breeding.  The result can be an overall increase in inbreeding and loss of genetic diversity. Jim, Jennifer, and Andreia and her team will continue to monitor the tamarins and track their pedigrees. They’ll keep a special eye on TR10.   


The 2015 National Zoo auction is May 4 through May 17!

HELP Save GLTs with your bids on fabulous items in the ZooFari 2015 Online Auction!

From Monday, May 4 through Sunday, May 17, Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ) will host the ZooFari 2015 online auction! This is your opportunity to bid on incredible, one-of-a-kind items to raise money for many of the Smithsonian's National Zoo's programs – one of which is the conservation of Golden Lion Tamarins in Brazil!  Last year’s auction raised more than US$8,000 that goes to AMLD, our partner in Brazil for their work to save GLTs.  With your help we can top that this year. 

Check out the auction at: and please share with your friends.

The auction items that benefit GLTs are not specifically identified on the auction website; so use this list to find them!  Please share the link and list with all your friends.  Many thanks to all the donors for these special items:

Animal-Made Art

  •        "Kjla" seal from the National Zoo Painting! 
  •        A Prevost's Squirrel Painting
  •        Animal art by the National Zoo's Meerkats!
  •        Animal Artwork by a Naked Mole Rat
  •        Armadillo Art by the National Zoo's Three Banded Armadillo
  •        Animal Artwork by Gorillas Mandara and Daughter Kabibi
  •        Animal Artwork by Kojo the Gorilla
  •        Orangutan Iris Painting
  •        Seal Painting by American Trail residents Kjya, Luke, Selkie, and Squeegee!

Art and Home Decor

  •        "Petiço" - painting by Brazilian artist Patricia Secco
  •        Golden Lion Tamarins on a Platter


  •        The IUCN Red List: 50 Years of Conservation
  •        Unlikely Heroes signed by author Jennifer Holland
  •        Handbook of the Mammals of the World – Vol. 3: Primates
  •        Handbook of the Mammals of the World - Vol. 4: Sea Mammals
  •        Signed copy of Dr. Jane Goodall's Book Hope for Animals and their World

Kids, Families, and Pets

  •       $150 Gift Certificate to DC-area pet store WylieWagg and Three 1-hour Personalized Sessions of Pet Training

Sports Memorabilia

  •        Exclusive Golden Lion Tamarin Association Soccer Ball

Tours - National Zoo

  •        Animal Painting Experience with an Armadillo!
  •        Golden Lion Tamarin Enrichment Experience
  •        Incredibly Rare Treat – Paint with the Great Apes at the National Zoo!
  •        Join an Animal Painting Experience with a Naked Mole Rat!
  •        Learn how to take amazing shots with this PHOTO SAFARI at the National Zoo!
  •        Shadow a Smithsonian Veterinarian at the National Zoo
  •        Sloth Experience! Get up close and personal with a two-toed sloth at the National Zoo!
  •        Meet NZP’s Gorillas and Orangs behind-the-scenes at the Great Ape House!

Tours – Zoos and More

  •        Animal Encounters at Audubon Zoo in New Orleans
  •        Behind-the-Scene Rainforest Adventure at Monkey Jungle in Miami
  •        Behind-the-Scenes Tour of  the World Renowned National Aquarium in Baltimore
  •        Behind-the-Scenes Tour of Zoo Miami
  •        Behind-the-scenes tour of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History's Mammal Collection
  •        Capybara Experience at the Palm Beach Zoo and Conservation Society
  •        Cheetah Encounter at Wellington Zoo in New Zealand
  •        Guided Tour of the Bronx Zoo’s Congo Exhibit
  •        Hidden Harpers Ferry Guided Walk and Two Passes to Aerial Adventure Park
  •        Panda Tour at Atlanta Zoo
  •        Panda Tour at San Diego Zoo
  •        Primate Power – Tour of Philadelphia Zoo’s Rare Animal Conservation Center and Peco Primate Reserve
  •        Tour of Sant Ocean Hall at the National Museum of Natural History
  •       VIP Behind-the-Scenes Experience with the Chimpanzees at Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia
  •        Zoo Atlanta – VIP Tour of State-of-the-Art Primate Facilities

Travel & Staycations

  •        Four Night Stay at Sea Colony, Bethany Beach, Delaware

Zoos - Unique Items

  •        Adopt a Golden Lion Tamarin in Brazil
  •        Brazilian Tamarin First-Day-Issue Postage Stamps
  •        Live Video Conference with the GLT Conservation Team in Brazil
  •        Meet the couple who taught zoo-born Golden Lion Tamarins to return to the wild!
  •        Name a Golden Lion Tamarin Baby Born in the Wild
  •        Restore 1 acre of forest for Golden Lion Tamarins in Brazil


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