CZAAWE Resource Article

Factors affecting reproduction in zoo-housed geoffroy's tamarins(Saguinus geoffroyi)
Publication Type 
Journal Article
Year of publication 
Zoo Biology
Abstract 10.1002/zoo.10099.abs The captive population of Geoffroy's tamarins (Saguinus geoffroyi) has suffered a severe decline over the past 10 years. This population decline is attributed not to a failure to produce offspring, but rather to a failure to successfully rear offspring. To date, no studies have quantitatively examined the behaviors and hormones of this tamarin species in captivity. Therefore, this study was conducted to determine whether there were any discernable factors that could be correlated with failure to rear offspring in S. geoffroyi. Fifteen adult Geoffroy's tamarins (GTs) at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo (CMZ) were observed by means of instantaneous sampling on a focal animal. In addition, all instances of social behaviors were recorded. A factorial arrangement of treatments was used, as animals were divided between a colony-housing situation and a non-colony situation with hand-reared and mother-reared animals in both treatments. Repeated-measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) showed no interactions between the treatments, and no differences between rearing histories for the behaviors studied. However, animals housed in a colony setting exhibited higher levels of aggressive behaviors and lower activity levels compared to those in a non-colony setting. There also was a trend for colony-housed animals to huddle, scent-mark, and exhibit sexual behaviors more often than non-colony animals. First-morning-void urine samples were collected once per week, and assays for E1C and PdG indicated that reproduction was not being suppressed. ANOVA conducted on samples assayed for excreted cortisol showed no differences in mean cortisol concentration by rearing histories or housing conditions. While these physiological indicators reveal no signs of stress, high levels of aggressive and territorial behaviors indicate social unrest in the colony-housed condition, which may be contributing to the poor reproductive success of those individuals. Zoo Biol 22:545–559, 2003. © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.