Cotton-top Tamarin: here’s the scoop


Cotton-top tamarins occur in an area of intensive colonization and forest loss. This species is listed as Critically Endangered due to a severe reduction in population, estimated to be greater than 80% over the past 18 years. The majority of the forest within the tamarin’s range has been cleared for agricultural purposes as well as harvesting to provide wood to build homes and for charcoal production. Currently, there are five protected areas created by the Colombian government within historical range of cotton-top tamarins in northwestern Colombia. Three of these protected areas have lost 42%, 71%, and 70% of its forested areas, respectively, since inception of protected status.

Committed to Conservation

The Buttonwood Park Zoo participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan (SSP) for Cotton-top Tamarins. The goal of the SSP is to cooperatively manage animal populations within AZA accredited zoos to ensure the sustainability of a healthy and genetically diverse population while enhancing the conservation of this species in the wild.

Buttonwood Park Zoo actively supports Proyecto Titi, a conservation organization that works to conserve this critically endangered cotton-top tamarin through a multi-disciplinary on-site conservation program that combines field research, education initiatives and community programs to make the conservation of natural resources economically feasible for local communities in Colombia. To date, the Zoo has donated $6,000 to Proyecto Titi.


Cotton-top Tamarin

Scientific name

Saguinus oedipus


This species occurs in humid forest in the south to dry deciduous forest in the north


Omnivorous. Insects, fruits and nectar make up the majority of their diet

Life Expectancy

15 – 25 years

Did you know?

Cotton-top tamarins can produce over 38 different vocalizations! They use these vocalizations to communicate to their family group, to defend their territory from neighboring family groups, to talk about food, and more!



Conservation status

Critically Endangered

Extremely high risk of extinction in the wild