Black lion tamarin

South America


Leontopithecus chrysopygus


More than 90% of its preferred forest habitat is already destroyed for logging activities, crop cultivation, and infrastructure development. Its already small population which is now isolated suffers from high rate of inbreeding.

Until its rediscovery in 1972, the Black Lion Tamarin, a native primate species of the Brazilian state of São Paulo has been considered extinct for four decades. It can only be found within a 100-hectare area of the Atlantic Rainforest at the Morro do Diabo State Park.

Its luxurious black fur, golden rump, and lion-like mane are its most obvious features, hence the other name of Golden-Rumped Tamarin. This squirrel-sized New World monkey can grow more than 600 grams in weight and up to 11 inches in height. Tail length at almost 15 inches is longer than its body length although it is not prehensile (adapted for strong grasping).

Its food preference depends on what is readily available within its foraging site: arthropods when in dry areas of the forest and seasonal fruits or tree gum when in a swampy environment. However, it prefers insects found within forest grounds due to its higher nutritional value but this increases its risk of being attacked by predators.