The Canopy Project

Helping the Golden Lion Tamarin

On the east coast of Brazil in the dense canopies of the Atlantic Rainforest in Rio de Janeiro, lives one of the most endangered populations on Earth: the Golden Lion Tamarins. The Golden Lion Tamarins are one of four species who are a part of the Lion Tamarins family located in Brazil. These tiny, silky-coated, golden-haired monkeys were very close to extinction back in the 1960s and 1970s due to illegal pet trade, poachers, and habitat loss, which left them with 2% of their original habitat and reduced their population size to less than 200 individuals

Since then, the Golden Lion Tamarin population has risen steadily to nearly 2,500 individuals, with many living in zoos, sanctuaries, and the Atlantic Rainforest in Brazil. The Golden Lion Tamarins weigh 1.2 lbs on average, and can live up to 15 years in the wild and up to 20 years in captivity. They received their name from their magnificent ring of hair that resembles the reddish gold color of a lion’s mane.

Golden Lion Tamarins spend their days roaming the tree cover and canopies in the lowland portion of Brazil’s Atlantic Rainforest, using their long tails to help them balance from branch to branch. Their long, slender fingers help them dig for insects, fruit, and small vertebrates to eat. The Golden Lion Tamarin are always born as twins. When they are born, the siblings and father help the mother raise the twins in the canopy away from predators such as large snakes, raptors, and cats. 

The Golden Lion Tamarin population hit a major setback in 2018 when yellow fever hit Southeast Brazil resulting in a rapid decline of an already small population of Golden Lion Tamarin from 3,600 to 2,500. Golden Lion Tamarins are an important species within the Atlantic Rainforest.

The Brazilian Rainforest is the Golden Lion Tamarin’s only home. Deforestation and urbanization over the past generations has made it more and more difficult for the Tamarins to travel through the rainforest. However, because of The Canopy Project, population and habitat regrowth has improved and are continuing to improve throughout reforestation of the Atlantic Forest

EARTHDAY.ORG’s Canopy Project plants trees to help with the reforestation of the Brazilian Rainforest. Support our worldwide campaigns with a donation and help save our species.