Jardin des Plantes in Paris: have you ever met the lion tamarins?

Young, but already good fliers, the brown monkeys fly from branch to branch at the speed of light in the new pheasant of Jardin des Plantes (Ve). For the delight of little visitors and their parents, clustered in front of the large aviary. The Parisian Zoo has just announced the birth of these two golden lion tamarins (Leontopithecus rosalia).

This pink notebook is the bearer of excellent news for the zoo, as the reproduction of this primate is rare. Even more, it is “the only birth in France this year in zoos”, underlines Michel Saint Jalme, director of the oldest zoo in the world, whose various spaces have been renovated or are in the process of being renovated. This happy event is all the more exceptional as the species is classified as “endangered” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list.

“We didn’t know she was expecting babies”

“On the morning of April 12, a trainer was surprised to discover two small balls dangling from his mother’s back. We didn’t know she was expecting babies,” says Michel Saint Jalme. The zoo waited a few weeks before announcing the good news because the risks of infant mortality are significant.

Michel Saint Jalme (right), director of the Jardin des Plantes zoo, in the presence of visitors who came to observe the little monkeys.

“After a gestation period of 4.5 months, the mother took care of the pups for the first two weeks, feeding them protein-rich milk. So the father took over, carrying them on his back to let the female rest. Custody was then shared with the brothers and sisters, explains Michel Saint Jalme, also a professor-researcher. “Within a few days, the twins will be captured to be chipped, vaccinated and undergo health checks. We can then determine your sex. »

From 30 to 3,000 golden lion tamarins in the world

“In the 1970s, there were less than 30 golden lion tamarins in the Atlantic Forest north of Rio, Brazil. An ambitious conservation program was then implemented and continues to be applied. Area protection, reforestation, captive breeding plan and reintroduction of animals into the wild bring the numbers to over 3,000 individuals today. In France, 13 zoos have golden lion tamarins and 70 in Europe”, explains Michel Saint Jalme.

The Jardin des Plantes zoo has about ten of them. “Flash, the father of the twins, was not amused in the eyes of his female. The hopes we had for another primate were also dashed. We had to wait for Miska to arrive for love at first sight to happen”, says, with a wide smile, the zoo director. Since then, her mother has given birth to four sets of twins in three years. “Twinning is one of the characteristics of the species”, continues Michel Saint Jalme.

A caretaker visits the two babies and their families in the golden lion tamarin's cage.
A caretaker visits the two babies and their families in the golden lion tamarin’s cage.

The first litter, now adults, was isolated in a nearby aviary while waiting to find a new destination. She will soon be on her way to one of Europe’s 350 zoos.

The Jardin des Plantes zoo now houses 500 animals, 40% of which are endangered species, little known to the general public. In addition to the golden lion tamarin, you can also discover the Arabian oryx, the binturong and many other amazing animals, in the curve of a wooded path.

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