Twin baby Cotton-top Tamarins at Lufkin's Ellen Trout Zoo are growing stronger

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - In December, a pair of Cotton-top Tamarins, an endangered species, were born at the Ellen Trout Zoo.

Unfortunately, their parents rejected the twins named Comet and Rudolph shortly after they were born which prompted zoo keepers to hand-rear the duo. And that posed an uncertain outcome because the twins were removed from their natural habitat.

"When they were born, (they were) rejected by their family and this is why we had to hand raise them," said Celia Falzone, general curator with the zoo.

Zoo keepers said hand rearing Tamarins is a difficult and challenging task and they're not exactly sure as to why the twins were rejected.

"I can't say for sure why they didn't take them," Falzone said. "This particular pair are probably not the best parents. They have raised offspring before, but this time around it just wasn't going to work."

One of the biggest downsides to hand-rearing is it removes the creatures from its natural habitat posing an uncertain outcome.

"A decision was made that we go ahead intervene because it was probably going to be an unsuccessful parent raised situation," said Mike Nance, a veterinarian.

Since the two months, both are gaining weight now at almost 5 ounces and they are developing their motor skills as they learn to move around, climb, hop, and even to put food in their mouths.

"They got blueberries for the first time the other day and they were like wow what's this," Falzone said.

As the monkeys grow bigger, zoo officials said they are slowly introducing the Tamarins to their parents.

"We really want to discourage human interaction so we're housing them next to their family. We really want them to learn that they're Tamarins," Falzone said. "We need them to be self-feeding. They're not there yet, they're two months old but they are still babies.

Zoo officials said by the end of the month or next month, they hope to fully transition the Tamarins into their natural habitat with their family.

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