Santa brings three new monkeys to Tasmania Zoo

EAT UP: Fraggle the golden lion tamarin enjoys a snack at his new home, handed over by Tasmania Zoo owner Rochelle Penney. Picture: Neil Richardson
EAT UP: Fraggle the golden lion tamarin enjoys a snack at his new home, handed over by Tasmania Zoo owner Rochelle Penney. Picture: Neil Richardson

At Tasmania Zoo on Christmas Day there was a partridge in a pear tree, two turtle doves, and three golden lion tamarins.

The three newcomers, reddish-gold monkeys native to Brazil, arrived at Tasmania Zoo on Christmas Day.

Fraggle, Mokey, and Olmec were delivered on the night before Christmas, and spent the festive day getting used to their new Tasmanian home.

They came from Mogo Zoo in New South Wales, Tasmania Zoo owner Rochelle Penney said - perhaps via a generous older gentleman with a red coat and white beard.

"There were our present from Santa," she said.

The golden lion tamarin is a prime example of the important of zoos, she said.

Without breeding programs in captivity, the species would most likely not exist today.

"They're an endangered species," Ms Penney said. "In the 1970s, their population in the wild dropped to only 200 individuals.

"Zoos and breeding facilities stepped in to help save the species."

The monkeys are still endangered, but their wild population has increased to over 3200.

"Threats still remain due to habitat fragmentation, urban development, and there's also recently been an outbreak of yellow fever in the wild," Ms Penney said.

But the monkeys will still benefit from the work of zoos and conservation groups for some time to come.

All three golden lion tamarins at Tasmania Zoo are boys.

But that could change, according to Ms Penney.

"In the future we hope to have a female as well for breeding," she said.

This story Santa brings three new monkeys to Tasmania Zoo first appeared on The Examiner.