Rare monkeys: Folly Farm hopes to breed tamarins to help save the species

Folly Farm Cotton-top Tamarin at Folly Farm in PembrokeshireFarm nonsense

Cotton-top tamarins are under threat and are now found in only 5% of their original habitat in the rainforests of northwestern Colombia.

They are a rare breed of monkeys in serious danger of dying out altogether.

But a zoo and adventure park in Pembrokeshire hopes the two cotton-top tamarins now living in its care can help protect the future of the species.

The pair, named Raquel and Raymond, have moved to Folly Farm on the recommendation of experts in the hope of mating.

There are only 2,000 adults left in the wild and they are on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Critically Endangered.

Raquel and Raymond cotton-top tamarins at Folly Farm in Pembrokeshire

Monkey Business: Raquel and Raymond hope to help ensure the survival of their species at Folly Farm

Folly Farm, near Kilgetty, also hopes to educate visitors about their history and the struggles they face.

Tamarins, which have prominent white hair, are found in only 5% of their original habitat in the rainforests of northwestern Colombia, largely due to large-scale deforestation.

“Unfortunately, where they live in forests in South America, the habitat has disappeared,” said Lee Sefton-Hearn, who works at the zoo.

“Also, people take monkeys out of their natural habitat for things like scientific research and the illegal pet trade as well.”

Folly Farm belongs to 36 European breeding programs and along with protecting endangered species, believes in educating visitors about the history and challenges of the animals.

Sefton-Hearn said while everyone enjoyed seeing the tamarins, it was important to explain the problems in nature.

Folly Farm Lee Sefton-Hearn in Folly FarmFarm nonsense

“Unfortunately, where they live in the forest in South America, the habitat has disappeared,” says Lee Sefton-Hearn of Folly Farm.

He said they did an important job as seed dispersers when they ate the fruit.

“Without them in nature, we are losing important things for the ecosystem as well,” he added.

Folly Farm said the pair had already been spotted looking after each other, which it called “a clear sign of trust and love”.

Keeper Kim Cartwright said: “They are an adorable addition, but more importantly, being such a rare species in the wild, it is an opportunity to educate our guests about these animals and the difficulties they face.

“They’ve settled in really well so far and they’re so much fun to watch because they’re so active.

“Hopefully they will become a breeding pair and one day we can welcome the tiny baby primates – which will be great news for the critically endangered species, as well as exciting for us and our visitors.”

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Image Source : www.bbc.com

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