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TOPEKA, Kan. – A Golden Lion Tamarin twin who was rejected by both parents died early Sunday morning, just days into its life.
Things progressed normally after the births, but on day two, one of the two babies was rejected by its mother, and was found on the floor of the exhibit. The baby was not being cared for by either parent. The little monkey was taken to the zoo’s hospital where it was warmed, given fluids, and fed formula.
Breeding and rearing protocols established through a population management plan for this species prohibit the offspring being separated from their parents for more than 12 hours and don’t allow for cross-fostering by humans.
After three attempts, zoo staff coaxed the father into taking the baby. “In this species of tamarin, usually after a few days the babies transition from mom to dad,” Zoo Director Brendan Wiley said. “In the case of a first-time mom like we have here, that transition may take longer.”
During the mid-morning hours of day three and four were much the same. Staff gave supportive care when neither parent was caring for the baby tamarin.
Saturday, day five, finally gave staff hope when both babies were observed on their mother, and both babies were observed nursing. The next morning, all four tamarins were found in the nest box, but the baby that had been rejected early on had passed away.
“The other baby appears to be doing well and has received great parental care from the moment it was born,” Wiley said. “As to the baby who passed, our initial findings haven’t revealed any abnormalities, but results from many tests are still pending. We don’t know why mom stopped caring for it.”