Golden lion tamarins are small monkeys that are native to Brazil's Atlantic coastal forest. In the early 1970s, tamarin populations had dropped to fewer than 200 individuals.
Zoos around the world are now participating in a concerted breeding and reintroduction program coordinated by the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C. On average, over 50 golden lion tamarins are born each year in captivity, and it is estimated that approximately 1,600 tamarins are living in the wild.
Because tamarins are vulnerable to starvation and predation when released in the wild, they are now being released into large enclosed areas of natural rain forest where they can become acclimated to the new habitat while being protected from predators and provided with food.
In order for golden lion tamarin populations to be successfully reestablished in the Brazilian forest, efforts are being made to preserve critical habitat and connect fragments of habitat that tamarins need to survive.