The Cotton-top Tamarin

Amazing Animal

Yak's Corner

Just for kids

April 05, 1999|By Patricia Chargot

WHAT IS IT? The cotton-top tamarin is one of the smallest New World monkeys -- so small that some people think it's a squirrel. It's about six inches tall and weighs about a pound. It's been called a "living Q-tip."

WHAT IS A NEW WORLD MONKEY? It's a monkey that lives in the Western Hemisphere, which includes North and South America. In the New World, monkeys live only in Central and South America.

WHERE DOES IT LIVE? The only place it has ever lived is Colombia. But most of its rain forest habitat has been destroyed. Today, it lives only in the northwestern part of the country.

HOW MANY ARE THERE? No one knows because no census has been taken. Scientists think there could be 5,000 to 10,000 left in the wild. Another 220 cotton-tops live in 60 zoos in North America, including Disney's Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Fla., and the zoos in Providence, R.I.; Battle Creek, Mich.; Milwaukee and Los Angeles.

WHAT'S BEING DONE? Most Colombians don't know that cotton-tops are found only in their country and are fighting to survive. So North American zoos are working with a zoo in Barranquilla, Colombia, to help get the word out, especially to kids. Scientists also are studying the animals in the wild.

HOW CAN WE HELP? Donations can be made to Cotton-Top Tamarin SSP, care of Anne Savage, Disney's Animal Kingdom, P.O. Box 10,000, Lake Buena Vista, Fla. 32830.

Source: Anne Savage, conservation biologist, Disney's Animal Kingdom; Savage also coordinates the species survival program for the cotton-top for the American Zoo and Aquarium Association.

Pub Date: 04/05/99

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