LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Earlier this month, the staff at Lufkin's Ellen Trout Zoo welcomed twin baby Cotton-top Tamarins to the family.
The twins, Rudolph and Comet, were born on Dec. 1. Because their parents rejected the them, the baby Tamarins are being hand-reared by zoo staff, according to Gordon Henley Jr., the director of the Ellen Trout Zoo.
"Hand rearing Tamarins is a difficult and challenging task and one with an uncertain outcome," Henley said. "Our devoted animal care staff are doing their best working around the clock to care for these infants and are doing a fantastic job. It takes a lot of skill and dedication to help ensure the well-being of these delicate animals."
Henley said because of the delicate nature of the process, the Tamarin twins will not be on public exhibit.
"We will issue periodic updates on their progress," Henley said.
The Tamarin twins weighted only 43 and 44 grams respectively when they were born.
Henley explained that cotton-top Tamarins are a small primate species native to the jungles of Columbia. They are considered a "critically endangered species," and the Ellen Trout Zoo cares for a large colony of Cotton-top Tamarins, both on and off exhibit, "in an effort to help save the species from extinction, Henley said.
Because of their endangered status, the Cotton-top Tamarins are one of the species cared for at the Ellen Trout Zoo that are in an Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival plan