In 1980, less than 100 individuals existed in the wild. Once this specie became at risk of extinction, nature conservation organizations decided to act, and through international cooperation established a project to protect the golden lion tamarin and its habitat, the Atlantic Forest. An important part of the project is the breeding efforts in captivity, as well as reintroducing individuals to the wild. To that end, various zoos around the world have welcomed these rare tamarins, transferred by the national zoo in Washington D.C., in the hopes that the tamarins will breed and help increase their population in captivity and in the wild.
In 2015, roughly 2,600 Golden Lion Tamarins were counted in the wild. They were saved from extinction thanks to breeding programs at zoos and returned to their natural habitat. This number will hopefully ensure the tamarin’s survival, on condition that their natural habitat is preserved. In order to complement these efforts, there has been a public campaign among the local human population to encourage nature conservation and to join efforts to preserve this unique species.
Once the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo proved to meet the standards necessary to welcome the tamarins, a couple of tamarins were welcomed at the zoo’s small animals building in order to breed and increase the population in the wild and in captivity and at other zoos around the world.
Despite the tamarins’ small size, their territory spans an area of 400 dunams. This need limits the expansion of the population, which is spread across a small portion of forest. The transfer from one part of forest to another is difficult and often impossible, given the open agricultural fields or urban areas which separate the remnants of forest.