The Golden Lion Tamarin Rebounds From The Brink Of Extinction

8:01 minutes

an adult monkey with sleek bright orange fur carries a baby monkey on its back
A golden lion tamarin carries a baby. Credit: Shutterstock

The Golden Lion Tamarin is a small, charismatic monkey with a mane of red fur that’s a local celebrity in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest. This pint-sized primate was on the brink of extinction back in the 1970s, with only about 200 left in the wild.

After decades of concentrated conservation efforts, an estimated 4,800 golden lion tamarins are now living in the wild. The multi-pronged effort involved reconnecting parts of the forest that had disappeared due to deforestation, vaccinating monkeys against yellow fever, and reintroducing zoo-bred primates to the wild. 

Ira speaks to Carlos Ruiz Miranda, associate professor of conservation and behavior at Northern Rio de Janeiro State University in Campos dos Goytacazes, Brazil. Dr. Ruiz Miranda has worked on restoring golden lion tamarin populations for decades, and was involved in every facet of this effort. 

Segment Guests

Carlos Ruiz Miranda

Carlos Ruiz Miranda is an associate professor of Conservation and Behavior at Northern Rio de Janeiro State University in Campos dos Goytacazes, Brazil.

Segment Transcript

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About Kathleen Davis

Kathleen Davis is a producer at Science Friday, which means she spends the week brainstorming, researching, and writing, typically in that order. She’s a big fan of stories related to strange animal facts and dystopian technology.

About Ira Flatow

Ira Flatow is the host and executive producer of Science FridayHis green thumb has revived many an office plant at death’s door.

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