Tamarins and marmosets are the smallest monkeys (primates) in the world. The golden lion tamarin is the largest and related to the golden headed and golden rumped tamarins - all are among the most endangered of all mammals.

The future

Although the reintroduction scheme appears to have been successful so far, it will be several years before anyone can be certain that the effort involved has been worthwhile.

Mature forest now covers less than 10 per cent of the reserve. Habitat improvement is essential if the wild and captive-bred tamarins are to survive. Education is important too and a programme has been set up to help the local people to understand the importance of conserving the remaining forest.

Several zoos around the world co-operate in the breeding of the golden lion tamarin, moving individuals among the various zoos to prevent inbreeding. Over 50 tamarins a year are born in captivity. Hopefully, it will be possible to introduce many of these to the wild in future years.

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