Twin golden-headed lion tamarins born at Smithsonian's National Zoo It's the first set of twins of the species to be born at the Zoo in 16 years.
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Twin golden-headed lion tamarins born at Smithsonian's National Zoo

The Smithsonian's National Zoo welcomed twin golden-headed lion tamarins to mother Lola and father Coco. Courtesy of/Smithsonian National Zoo hide caption

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Courtesy of/Smithsonian National Zoo

It's double the celebration at Smithsonian's National Zoo, which has welcomed twin golden-headed lion tamarins to the world. It's the first set of twins of the species to be born at the Zoo in 16 years, officials said in their announcement today.

Small Mammal House keepers discovered on the morning of October 7 that their 4-year-old female, Lola, had given birth sometime during the previous night, the Zoo said in a statement. Lola and the twins' father, 7-year-old Coco, are first-time parents.

Not much is known about the twin babies — mostly because new mom Lola has been keeping a tight hold on them. She's been carrying them around, nursing them, and generally cuddling them close, so officials aren't yet able to determine the sex of the babies.

Conservation scientists estimate there are about 6,000 golden-headed lion tamarins left in the wild — the animal has been declared endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. This breed of monkey is native to southern Brazil, where it spends a lot of its time at least 10 feet up in the forest canopy.

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Golden-headed lion tamarins have a typical life expectancy of eight years in the wild, per the Zoo, but at least one member of the species at the zoo enjoyed a long lifespan: Zikki the tamarin was humanely euthanized at age 17 after suffering chronic liver and renal disease.

You can view the entire golden-headed lion tamarin family at the Small Mammal House at the Smithsonian National Zoo — just note that as part of their phased reopening plan, the Zoo is requiring entry passes for all visitors, as well as masks in indoor spaces. (The Zoo's annual Boo at the Zoo and ZooLights events, meanwhile, have been cancelled entirely.)

In addition to the new golden-headed lion tamarins, the Zoo has welcomed several new babies in the last year, including a lesser kudu, three ferrets, and five cheetah cubs. Oh yeah, and a giant panda.

This story is from DCist.com, the local news website of WAMU.

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