Auckland Zoo is “buzzing” over the arrival of two new cotton-top tamarin babies – the first of the species to be born there in 16 years.
The critically endangered primates were born at the zoo on Tuesday evening.
The zoo said it was a massive win for the species’ conservation.
“Although it is still early days, both babies and parents were doing well,” said primates team leader Amy Robbins on Friday.
She said it had been 16 years since the zoo has bred cotton-tops, as the last group of tamarins the zoo had were all males.
“We’re all buzzing about the new arrivals. It’s exciting to have our cotton-top parents starting to build their troop.
“They’re showing signs of being great parents, with mum feeding and dad carrying them.”
Cotton-top tamarin are small, new world monkeys – meaning those found in Central and South America and Mexico – and typically weigh less than 0.5 kilograms.
They are often referred to as the “rock stars” of the primate world thanks to their distinctive fur and colouring.
Robbins said they won’t know the sex of the pair for some time, but the zoo would give updates on their progress.
“The new troop are still adjusting to the world [but] they’re becoming more and more confident, so visitors may get a glimpse of the two new babies during their next visit.”
The parents are a male called Nuri from Germany and a female from Italy called Ms Nuri. They both arrived in December.
Cotton-tops live in trees and come from the wet tropical forests or dry thorn forests in northern Colombia.
The species was classed as critically endangered due to large-scale deforestation. It is estimated there are only 6000 left in the wild.
The happy news comes just a week after zoo staff said farewell to their two last lions on June 6.
Kura, 19 and her daughter Amira, 17, were put to sleep in a decision that was best for their welfare, zoo staff said.