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Two cotton-top tamarins are the newest residents at the Santa Barbara Zoo

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Posted at 2:25 PM, Dec 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-27 17:25:36-05

The Santa Barbara Zoo announced Monday the welcoming of two cotton-top tamarins.

Siblings, Stella and Mini, arrived at the zoo earlier this month from the Central Florida Zoo. Stella is a female and is 6 1/2 years old, Mini is a male and is 5 1/2 years old.

According to zoo officials, cotton-top tamarins are one of the smallest species of primates and are found in a small area of northern Colombia where there are only about 6,000 of them left in the wild. These small monkeys, weighing only about 1 Ib., play an important role in rainforest ecology by dispersing digested seeds throughout the forest.

Zoo officials say these primates vocalize using a shrill whistling sound that changes depending on what they are communicating to each other. They are named for the long white hairs on the top of their heads which stands out in contrast to the darker black and brown tones of the hair on the rest of their bodies.

Cotton-top tamarins are listed as critically endangered by the IUCN due to deforestation and illegal pet trade.

Guests can visit the cotton-tops in their new home next to the capybaras on Zoo Train Lane.

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