Monday, September 14, 2009

Arranged Marriages

RSCF has one of the largest, oldest populations of captive pygmy marmosets (callithrix pygmaea) in the U.S. These tiny monkeys can easily fit in the palm of your hand and are found in the forests of Peru. Two weeks ago, we decided to create new breeding pairs from existing non-related family groups resident at our facility. We carefully considered age and personality when deciding who to pair with whom. The process isn't as easy as you might think. It's always stressful to capture these tiny primates, and disturbing family groups can create quite a bit of drama! Each new pair has to be closely observed after introduction--we always hope for "love at first sight". All in all, we created five new "arranged marriages" in addition to our existing two stable family groups and four other mature pairs. Everyone is getting along , and if all goes well we will be welcoming new pygmy babies to our growing families!

So far everyone is doing well and getting used to their new living arrangements. We placed the new pairs in large, planted exhibits full of palm trees and tons of great perching to run and play on. In the beginning it was difficult to find the new pairs (it's amazing how well they can hide) but now they’re more conspicuous and seem to be quite comfortable with each other and their new surroundings. Ah, love is in the air!!

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