Photo: A close-up of a golden lion tamarin

The critically endangered golden lion tamarin is named for its striking orange mane.

Photograph by Mark W. Moffett

Map

Map: Golden lion tamarin range

Golden Lion Tamarin Range

Fast Facts

Type:
Mammal
Diet:
Omnivore
Average life span in the wild:
15 years
Size:
Head and body, 7.5 to 8.75 in (19 to 22 cm); Tail, 10.25 to 13.5 in (26 to 34 cm)
Weight:
14 to 29 oz (400 to 800 g)
Group name:
Troop
Protection status:
Endangered
Size relative to a 6-ft (2-m) man:
Illustration: Golden lion tamarin compared with adult man

Lion tamarins take their name from their impressive manes—thick rings of hair reminiscent of Africa's great cats. The golden lion tamarin may be the most beautiful of the four lion tamarin species. Its abundant golden hair frames a charismatic black face and covers its small body and tail. Despite their name, these rare primates have far more in common with their monkey relatives than any feline.

The golden lion tamarin forms social family groups. Males help to raise their offspring, and often carry their young on their backs in between feedings. Tamarin young are usually twins.

Golden lions live primarily in the trees. They sleep in hollows at night and forage by day while traveling from branch to branch. Long fingers help them stay aloft and snare insects, fruit, lizards, and birds.

These interesting animals are critically endangered, as are many of the forests in which they live. Brazil's Atlantic coastal rain forests are disappearing due to ever-expanding logging, agriculture, and industry, and unfortunately, the golden lion tamarin is in danger of vanishing with them.

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