Scientific Name: Leontopithecus chrysomelas
IUCN Red List status: Endangered
Protected by the following WLT projects:
Species Range (IUCN)
With a long, golden lion-like mane around its face the Golden-headed Lion Tamarin is suitably named. About the same size as a squirrel, they can grow up to 30 cm long (females are usually slightly larger) plus a tail of approx. 35 cm; the body is predominantly black with golden-orange limbs and males and females are similar in appearance. They have sharp claws (unusual in primates as most others have nails), that they use for climbing and catching prey. Their food consists mainly of insects and lizards, as well as soft fruit.
When threatened they will fluff up their fur to make themselves appear bigger than they really are, to ward off predators.
Threats and Conservation
The Golden-headed Lion Tamarin, once found widely across eastern Brazil, today only survives in small isolated populations in eastern Brazil. It is estimated that only 2-5% of their original habitat remains as a result of deforestation for timber, charcoal and agriculture. In addition this primate also suffers from predators like ocelots, snakes and hawks; it has also been widely collected in the past for the pet trade.