12 Days of ZooLights: Golden Lion Tamarin

A new animal each day in our 12 Days of ZooLights series. Are you as excited as we are?

Alfredo Flores

Welcome to 12 Days of ZooLights, where we celebrate the festive lights decorating the Smithsonian's National Zoo at the holidays!

Today's Animal of the Day: Golden Lion Tamarins (GLT)

Why We Love The Display: These monkeys manage to look adorably mischievous, even when they're made out of lights.

Habitat: Golden lion tamarins are found in a tiny corner of the Brazilian rainforest. They live in lowland forests, but can also be found in hilltops and swamp forests.

At the zoo: GLTs have a long history at the zoo. In 2007, the zoo celebrated its 22nd year of its free-range program, which allowed a family of GLTs to roam wildly in Beaver Valley for the summer. The program was a huge success and the monkeys have since been returned to the Zoo. 

History: Tamarins are considered New World monkeys, which just means that they can be found in Mexico, Central and South America. Deforestation has taken a huge toll on GLTs habitation and the amount of viable rainforest for them to inhabit has been cut dramatically. As a result, conservation is necessary to save these creatures and the National Zoo is a forerunner in these efforts. 

Bet you didn’t know... The longest living GLT on record lived to be 31 years old. That's more than three times their average lifespan!

About ZooLights: In this yearly display, more than 500,000 environmentally-friendly LED lights transform the Zoo into a winter wonderland. Check out the new garden scene light sculpture.

Thanks to our partners in the 12 Days of ZooLights.

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