Today we have said a fond farewell to our three elderly male cotton-top tamarins.

Our special little trio, along with our fourth elderly male who passed away earlier this month, had all well exceeded their life expectancy (all were in their late teens), and had age-related degenerative health conditions, including kidney failure and spinal degeneration.

“Naturally, we’d been monitoring them all extremely closely for some time, and this morning, with our veterinary team colleagues, myself and my team made the kindest decision to euthanise them,” says Primate team leader Amy Robbins.

Amy says she and her team have been reflecting on and celebrating all that these “amazing little punk rockers of the animal world” have contributed in their time with us.

"Hundreds of thousands of our visitors have been able to experience and fall in love with them – some even getting up close through our special tamarin encounter – and come to understand the issues they’re up against in the wild."

It’s always sad to say goodbye to animals that have been part of our Zoo family for so long, but this was absolutely the right decision and very importantly means we have prevented them from suffering.

Amy Robbins

“Several of these boys also bred, helping contribute to the really important international breeding programme for these tamarins. Sadly in 2008, the cotton-top tamarin’s conservation status was upgraded to Critically Endangered due to severe habitat loss in its native Columbia. These precious and rare primates are also a victim of the illegal pet trade,” explains Amy.

Auckland Zoo will soon be home to two young cotton-top tamarins - a male from Germany and a female from Italy. They will be introduced to the cotton-top tamarin exhibit later in November, where they will be joined by another South American species – red-rumped agouti. 


Punk rock cotton-top tamarins

One of the most endangered primates in the world, their punk-rock shock of white hair gives them their most appropriate name.