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Gentle Hearted Lions Fall in Love at Drusillas Park

A beautiful golden lion tamarin has joined the pride at Drusillas Park, East Sussex as part of an International Breeding Programme.

The two year old female who has not yet been named, arrived at the award-winning zoo on 23rd October after being re-homed from Duisburg Zoo, Germany. She has been paired with Drusillas’ male tamarin, Paulo and keepers have high hopes that cupid’s arrow will land on target.

These majestic monkeys are lion in name rather than heart – in fact they are naturally very timid and are named due to the silky golden hair which adorns their faces like a mane. Sadly, they have become highly endangered in the wild, mainly due to habitat destruction and the pet trade.

In order to look after this beautiful South American species, Drusillas first had to apply to the International Golden Lion Tamarin studbook keeper, as well as the Brazilian government. The animals are so rare, zoos are required to demonstrate that they are able to look after the species effectively before they are given a breeding pair.

Paulo arrived at Drusillas Park in 2012 and has been patiently waiting for his prime-mate to arrive. Section Leader, Claudia Perryman works closely with the tamarins and has been monitoring the pair since their introduction.

Claudia commented: “We are delighted with the way the introductions have gone. As soon as the door to their dividing rooms opened, Paulo ventured outside to meet his new mate and show her the ropes!”

"They began vocalising and it wasn’t long before they were sitting next to each other on the branches and eating together. We checked them throughout the day and on the final visit they were snuggled up together in the nest box.  They have settled incredibly well and are now always found side by side.”

The love-struck pair are currently being looked after behind the scenes but are due to move to a shared enclosure with the zoo’s group of saki monkeys in time for Christmas. Fingers crossed, their pride will grow still further with the pitter-patter of tiny feet in the not too distant future. 

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