Help your students learn about science by studying GLTs! 

Sandra Markle’s The Great Monkey Rescue, our story of Saving Golden Lion Tamarins in Brazil, is one of the award-winning science books Subaru retailers are donating this month to local schools across the country as part of the Subaru Loves Learning initiative in partnership with the American Association for the Advancement of Science – AAAS. 

Teachers and Zoo Educators, the AAAS lesson plan for grades 6-8 based on the book is available at The purpose of the lesson is “to teach students about the scientific process by taking them through the study of the golden lion tamarins in their natural and artificial environments." The lesson includes a video about GLTs produced by the Palm Beach Zoo. 


August 2 is the First Annual International GLT Day

Exactly one year ago today on August 2, 2016, Andreia Martins, the Coordinator of the Associação Mico-Leão-Dourado (Golden Lion Tamarin Association) team who have monitored GLTs in their native habitat, in the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro for more than 30 years, carried the Torch through the region on its way to open the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.  Andreia’s home town of Silva Jardim, Rio de Janeiro, celebrated the honor with a parade and event that involved the entire municipality.  Relive the 2016 event with the video in English here:

To continue the celebration, this year the Municipal Council of Silva Jardim officially designated August 2 as “Dia do Mico-Leão-Dourado” (Golden Lion Tamarin Day) - an annual day of fun and learning dedicated to the conservation of this endangered primate native to their local forest.   

The Brazilian Society of Zoos and Aquariums (SZB) in partnership with the Associação Mico-Leão-Dourado, is conducting throughout 2017 a national educational campaign – 2017 Year of the Golden Lion Tamarin(Ano do Mico-Leão-Dourado) to involve more than twenty million Brazilian zoo visitors in learning about the diversity of Brazilian primates, which ones are native to their local forest, the threats caused by maintaining primates as pets and releasing them outside their home forest to become invasive species.  The campaign focuses on the golden lion tamarin as a Brazilian symbol for forest conservation and highlights the important role the 150 zoos around the world who participate in the captive-breeding program to help assure a permanent future for this species in its forest home.

SZB, the Associação Mico-Leão-Dourado, the Municipality of Silva Jardim – Rio de Janeiro, and Save the Golden Lion Tamarin invite zoos and other friends around the world to join us in celebrating August 2 – the first annual International Golden Lion Tamarin Day

Reintroduction helped bring the wild population to the current 3200, enough to save the species, but these GLTs are still isolated in fragmented habitat.  

To save GLTs from extinction we need:

 At least 2000 GLTs in 25,000 hectares of connected and protected forest.

Thanks to your help we now have:

408 GLTs in 5,548 hectares of connected and protected forest.

Today there are enough GLTs (3200) in the wild and enough forest, as well as a well-managed captive GLT population (500) that can supply GLTs for reintroduction should the need arise. 

With your continued support we can and will connect and protect enough forest and GLTs to keep the species safe from extinction in perpetuity.

Please join us on August 2 - Golden Lion Tamarin Day as we say Thank you to…

  • the 150 zoos around the world
  • all friends who support our actions

Press release can be found here.


Home of Golden Lion Tamarins Greatly Expanded

Golden Lion Tamarins (GLTs) received a wonderful gift on World Environment Day, June 5, 2017, when the Brazilian government decreed the expansion of the União Biological Reserve, Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil, from its current 2.5 thousand hectares to over 7.5 thousand hectares.  This is now three times the original size of the Reserve that was created in 1998 as a result of pressure by SGLT’s Brazilian partner organization AMLD, together with other partner institutions.  In 2007, AMLD in partnership with SavingSpecies purchased 40 hectares of cattle pasture that separated the União Reserve from forests to the west.  AMLD reforested that cattle pasture thus linking União to adjacent forests.  The rich biodiversity in this area of the Atlantic Forest includes lots of GLTs and other mammals, as well as other species that rely on this habitat including amphibians, birds, orchids, butterflies, and more.    

Since the creation of the União Reserve, AMLD and partners have lobbied to increase the size of the Reserve.  In February of 2017, AMLD's Executive Secretary travelled to Brasilia to meet with government officials concerning important issues that included increasing the size of União.  On June 5, 2017, the President of Brazil signed a bill increasing the União Reserve from 2,584 hectares to 7,756 hectares, including the 40 hectares purchased reforested by AMLD—a huge contribution to GLT conservation because it permanently protects at additional 5,000 hectares of GLT habitat. 

What a wonderful way to celebrate and ensure that 2017 is TRULY the Year of the Golden Lion Tamarin!

Original and New ("ampliada") Area of Uniao reserve


Priority Area for Conservation of GLTs


GLTs featured as a CBSG success story 

The Golden Lion Tamarin Conservation Program is one of ten success stories from around the world featured in the Conservation Breeding Specialist Group’s (CBSG) new book Second Nature available for free download or viewing in book form online at

Each story describes what's possible when dedicated people who have a common purpose collaborate to save threatened species.  Behind all these stories is CBSG, a small but effective catalyst for changing the futures of endangered species.  Thank you, CBSG, for more than 35 years and counting of partnership in conservation planning with all of us working to assure a future for Golden Lion Tamarins in their native Atlantic Forest in Rio de Janeiro. 

Download Second Nature as a PDF (14 MB)->
 Second Nature in book form -> 

Reports of the past lion tamarin Population and Habitat Viability Assessments (1990, 1997, and 2005) are also available for download on the CBSG site ->


Yellow Fever Hits Brazil 

An outbreak of Yellow Fever has been travelling through Southeast Brazil  over the past few weeks. On March 14 the first case in Rio de Janeiro state was detected in the municipality of Casimiro de Abreu, in the center of the remaining GLT habitat.  Yellow Fever can be fatal for at-risk humans (the young, old, and immuno-comprimised), and it is also fatal for some New World Primates. AMLD  is closely monitoring reports of sick primates as GLTs could be affected by this virus. All AMLD staff have been vaccinated.  To help protect both people and monkeys, AMLD and SGLT are educating the public about the disease and the need for vaccination. The AMLD field team know the region well and are transporting health workers to vaccinate people living in isolated rural areas.  Eco-tourism visits to the GLT habitat have been temporarily stopped. Yellow fever has not been well studied in monkeys, thus there is no current proven vaccination for monkeys.  


AMLD staff helping transport healthworkers to vaccinate GLT neighbors. 


What is Yellow Fever?

Yellow Fever is a viral disease common in areas of Africa and South America.  For most people, symptoms are similar to a bad influenza and last about four days. In some, especially older people and those with immune system problems, symptoms can be much worse and fatal in 3 - 7% of cases. Yellowing of the skin and eyes is common in people with severe symptoms.

How can people protect themselves from Yellow Fever?

Get vaccinated against Yellow Fever BEFORE the disease is found near where you live.  One vaccination protects you for the rest of your life.  Check with your doctor about vaccinations for babies, pregnant or nursing women, older people and people with immune-deficiency. 

Also, protect yourself from mosquito bites.

Can you get Yellow Fever from a monkey?

No, you can’t get Yellow Fever from a monkey or another person. Yellow Fever is spread by mosquitoes infected with the disease.

Can monkeys get Yellow Fever?

Yes.  People and monkeys can both be victims of Yellow Fever.

Do monkeys spread Yellow Fever from one city or state to another?

No.  People infected with the disease who travel from one city or state to another take the disease with them and spread it there.

Can monkeys help protect people from Yellow Fever?

Yes.  When monkeys show symptoms of Yellow Fever that tells local Health Departments that people should be vaccinated immediately.  Monkeys can show us where Yellow Fever has spread.