Beastly Beat
Rio the Golden Lion Tamarin

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Rio was born February 5, 2011 to Johnny and Neve, the zoo's golden lion tamarin adult pair. His mother took care of him for a few days, but eventually she abandoned him on the cage floor. Because of the extremely cold temperatures, zoo staff intervened in order to try to save him.

Rio is being hand-raised by zoo staff, and once he becomes independent and able to eat on his own, he will be introduced back into the group. For the first few weeks, Rio had to be fed a bottle about every three hours. Now he gets a bottle in the morning, fruits, vegetables and mealworms during the day, and another bottle before he goes to bed at night.

At birth, Rio weighed 54 grams, and is now at about 130 grams. As adults, golden lion tamarins usually average about 1 - 1.5 pounds, rarely getting up to two pounds. They average about 12 inches in body length, not including their tail. Tails are usually another 12-16 inches.

Golden lion tamarins are highly endangered due to loss of habitat and marketing for the pet trade. They are native to the coastal region of Brazil, with most living in the Rio de Janeiro area (this is where "Rio" got his name). About 1,500 golden lion tamarins remain in the wild, and only around 450 live in zoos worldwide.

Rio is not currently on exhibit, but visitors can see his parent on exhibit in the South American section of the zoo near the flamingos.