Monkey trio arrive at Natureland

A bachelor group of cotton-top tamarin monkeys has arrived at Natureland just in time for summer. 

Mario and his two sons Lucas and Jahli are making their new home next to a young family of pygmy marmoset monkeys in the park.

Senior keeper Jenny Pettigrew said the trio arrived from Hamilton Zoo on Thursday and were a bit cautious while they were getting acquainted with their new home. 

"They are still settling in very much, they are investigating everything at the moment," Pettigrew said.

"Having these guys right next to the marmosets is entertainment as well as they are interacting."

Cotton-top tamarins are native to Colombia, South America and are critically endangered in the wild due to deforestation and the illegal pet-trade. 

They can live for up to 13 years in the wild and in captivity they can live for up to 25 years.

"These guys mainly eat bugs, fruit and veges and they will also eat tree sap too," she said. 

The cotton-top tamarins are the third monkey species now at Natureland, alongside the pygmy marmosets and capuchin monkeys.

Mario, Lucas and Jahli were a similar size and the keepers were still learning to tell them apart.

"They have a couple of distinguishing features but you can often tell monkeys apart by their behaviour," Pettigrew said. 

Cotton-top tamarins were articulate monkeys with over 38 distinctly different vocalisations that indicated thought processes and emotions. 

"They can have a whole conversation without you realising it," said Pettigrew. 

The monkeys would be settled in time for the holiday season.

"Hopefully it will boost the excitement over the summer," she said. 

There were no plans to establish a breeding program but it could be a possibility in the future.

"At the moment we are just happy to have these three," Pettigrew said. 

 - Stuff