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Rare Twin Cotton-Top Tamarin Baby Monkeys Born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Dr. Mark Penning

by , Vice President, Animals, Science and Environment, Disney Parks

An adorable set of tiny, critically endangered twins were born at Walt Disney World, doubling the size of the cotton-top tamarin population at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park. Weighing about as much as a common chicken egg, and measuring approximately four inches long, these pint-sized newborns cling tightly to their parents as both mom and dad acrobatically leap from branch to branch in their habitat on Discovery Island.

Cotton-Top Tamarin Monkeys at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

These bundles of joy have our animal care team themselves jumping for joy – though less acrobatically – as the pair marks the first cotton-top tamarin births at Walt Disney World since 2001. It’s too soon to know if they’re male or female, so we haven’t landed on names yet for these cute little monkeys. 

Although cotton-top tamarins are considered a rare species with less than 7,500 remaining in the wild, having twins is quite typical for the species. Infants are completely dependent on their families for survival and are carried around on the backs of their family members for up to 14 weeks. As first-time parents, both mom and dad are doing great, sharing the parenting duties. You can expect to see the twins cozied up to both mom and dad over the next several months. 

Cotton-Top Tamarin Monkeys at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Cotton-top tamarins are native to Colombia and typically found in the tropical forests of the northwest region of the country. These primates live high in the treetops and forage through the canopy for the fruits and insects that make up most of their diet. They are critically endangered because of the illegal pet trade as well as extensive deforestation and loss of habitat. 

Cotton-Top Tamarin Monkeys at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Cotton-top tamarins are known for the wild manes of bright-white hair atop their heads, resembling a well-known genius and theoretical physicist. And they’re highly intelligent, too, with at least 38 distinct calls in their vocal repertoire to communicate with each other! 

Fully grown, adult cotton-top tamarins weigh less than a pound and are about the size of a squirrel. Though small in stature, these twins will play a big role in the continuation of one of the most endangered primate species. 

Cotton-Top Tamarin Monkeys at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

The birth of these critically endangered primates is just one example of how we work with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan to help ensure the responsible breeding of threatened species in managed care and help create healthy and genetically diverse populations of animals for years to come. 

Cotton-Top Tamarin Monkeys at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

We’ve also worked with organizations, such as Proyecto Titi in Colombia, to help protect this critically endangered species. As a part of Disney Planet Possible – our commitment to create a happier, healthier planet for all – the Disney Conservation Fund has supported Proyecto Tití’s efforts to help more than 180 local farmers to establish conservation forest corridors, protect more than 5,500 hectares of forest, and plant more than 100,000 trees for cotton-top tamarins and other wildlife, helping connect more than 15,000 students with cotton-top tamarins and nature in Colombia. 

Cotton-Top Tamarin Monkeys at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

To learn more about cotton-top tamarins and other species we are working to protect, visit and follow our amazing team on Facebook and Instagram  (@DrMarkAtDisney).


  • I wonder what their names will be for these cute baby twins

  • Great news! Can’t wait to visit them.

  • WOW amazing! Welcome to the world, twins <3

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