From research lab to Tamarin Town

We did it! The ten 'special needs' cotton-top tamarins have arrived at Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary! Xena, Monet, Chopin, Nicor, Gatsby, Hershey, Ashley, Odin, Volcano and Tripoli are out of the research lab forever. Thanks to our fantastic donors and volunteers these ten little monkeys now have a permanent sanctuary home.

Claude, Ashlei and I drove to the Orlando airport Monday night to pick up the tamarins, who were flown in from Chicago. When we got to the cargo office we found this note on the door:

Sign on gate: "Be back Soon with monkeys"

Cart full of monkey cagesSoon we had the tamarins loaded up and ready to go. Peeking in each carrier, we found all our new friends in good shape and pretty good spirits despite their long journey. Tripoli and Volcano talked to me all the way from Orlando to Gainesville; they were whistling and chirping very happy sounds. I have never seen two monkeys so cheerful after a long plane ride! 


Tamarins in carriersIt was after dark when we reached the sanctuary, so we took the new residents of Tamarin Town directly to their new building. We put the carriers into the indoor enclosures and left the carrier doors open for a 'soft release', meaning the monkeys would choose for themselves when they wanted to venture out into unknown territory.

Our first brave explorers were Tripoli and Volcano. In no time at all they were investigating their new home. The next to emerge were Monet and Xena; then Ashley and Odin decided to join the other brave souls - and oh the chatter! Hershey, Gatsby, Chopin and Nicor decided that they would just stay put for a while, but by late the next morning everyone was out of their carriers and enjoying some great food and good company.

The time had come to introduce the tamarins to their beautiful new outdoor habitats.

Tamarin Town Outside Habitats

Tamarein in runwayWhen we opened the doors to the outdoor runways, our little tamarins didn't know what to think. None of them had ever been outside before - but they were more than willing to give this new experience a try. Soon all the new arrivals ventured out of the building and into the runways to breathe the fresh air and consider all the new sights, sounds and smells.

Guess who went out into their outdoor habitats first? You guessed it - Tripoli and Volcano. They explored their long runway and were delighted to discover a much larger open space to play in. They were thoroughly enjoying themselves until it started to rain. They were not pleased with that new experience, and were not sure what to do, but Kat and I guided them back through their runways and inside. I was worried that the unexpected downpour might have dampened their enthusiasm for the outside world, but as soon as the rain let up, back out they went! This time Hershey and Gatsby were not far behind, dashing through the runway into a spacious habitat. When another shower came along a couple of hours later, the tamarins chose to stay outdoors, and this time they all enjoyed playing in the rain.

Tamarin Town Runway

Today, Monet and Xena went into their new habitat and were really making the most of it! They were racing around on the ground, round and round, then leaping into a bamboo bush and jumping onto a large banana leaf that bent under the slight weight to take then gently to the ground. This pair was really making up for lost time!


It has been a full year since we first learned about the opportunity to free 70 tamarins from a research laboratory. A full year of planning, fundraising, building, networking with other sanctuaries and organizations to find placements for all 70. Ten of the 70 came to Jungle Friends, and now we are joyfully watching them investigating their new home, discovering the great outdoors for the first time, getting a taste of the new, larger life that will be theirs - and reminding us why we do what we do! Many, many thanks from all of us at Jungle Friends to all of you who made this dream come true.

TamarinLots of monkey love,
Kari and the monks

P.S. Now that our new tamarin friends have arrived, they are ready to be SPONSORED! Please sponsor a tamarin today!