When Smithsonian.com reported on Friday's birth of two golden lion tamarins at the National Zoo, it cautioned that 50% of infants typically don't make it to age one. That dour statistic has played itself out: One of the two died at just four days old on Tuesday, having apparently fallen off the back of either Mo or Izzy—its parents, who birthed the first tamarins born at the zoo in a decade. That back is where the young spend their initial weeks, holding on tight as their parents swing from branch to branch. As such, falls are common.
A press release from the zoo notes the primates' habitat had been adjusted "to create a baby-friendly exhibit—including draining pools, turning off waterfall features, and limiting noise and unfamiliar staff in the habitat." A necropsy of the infant is planned. Native to Brazil, there about about 3,200 golden lion tamarins in the wild and another 500 in zoos. "It’s an endangered species that the Smithsonian has been working on for years. It’s a real feather in our cap," said zoo director Steven Sarro in announcing the births. (Read more National Zoo stories.)