Big Brother Steps Up To Care For 2 Orphaned Monkeys

Denver Zoo Tamarin Monkey Twin Orphans

Thank goodness for big brothers! Orphaned emperor tamarin monkeys Lucy and Lara (above) are doing well following the sudden death of their mother, Yanaguana, from cancer last month thanks to special attention from their older sibling, Paddy, and help from caretakers at the Denver Zoo. The monkey’s father, Cute, also died in March after living a long 20 years, making their big brother their only remaining family member.

“Our goal is to get them to know their brother,” who has become quite curious about the two young monkeys, says Michelle Jordan, the monkey’s primary caretaker. “During the daytime we take them over to the monkey house in a space next to him.”

Family bonding seems right on track, as Paddy spends his time “vocalizing to them all day,” even turning his back as if inviting his sisters to climb on.

It may be a few more months until the monkeys are old enough to join their brother out where the public can see them. But in the meantime, they’re gradually weaning off formula and working toward a vitamin D-enriched adult diet that includes small amounts of organic fruits and vegetables. Jordan has been hand-feeding the twins since their mother’s death, and like most monkeys, “bananas are their favorite!”

And, while having a big brother is nice, Lucy and Lara have plenty of girl time too. “They seem to think each other are their territory,” says Jordan. “Because they’ve been marking each other like crazy all day.”


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