CZAAWE Resource Article

Adaptation of captive-bred cotton-top tamarins (Saguinus oedipus) to a natural environment
Publication Type 
Journal Article
Year of publication 
Zoo Biology
Abstract 10.1002/zoo.1430110206.abs The reintroduction to the wild of captive-born individuals could have an important role in saving some endangered species from extinction. However, such individuals may not have the necessary skills to survive in the wild. In order to assess their locomotor and orientation capabilities in a natural environment, a family of five captive-bred cotton-top tamarins (Saguinus oedipus) was released into a wooded area in the grounds of the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust. Descriptive and quantitative data were collected during an intensive 10-week study and a further 6 weeks of systematic monitoring. The tamarins coped well with the change of environment from cage to wood. As the study progressed, they used a wider range of strata, from the ground to heights of more than 15m, and began to use relatively thin (less than 10 cm diameter) diagonal branches rather than fixed horizontal supports such as nestboxes. Their range increased in area, and they spent less time resting and more time moving and feeding. Studies like this can provide information on the skills already possessed by captive-born animals, as well as those which will have to be improved by more structured training programs, and therefore have important implications for the preparation of captive-born primates for reintroduction to the wild. © 1992 Wiley-Liss, Inc.