Birmingham Nature Centre welcomes new TV stars

By on 17/10/2011 in News

The latest residents at Birmingham Nature Centre are set to become TV stars after moving into their new home.

Golden Lion Tamarins, Cortez and Pablo jetted in from Copenhagen Zoo last week after the Nature Centre was invited to participate in a global breeding programme to save one of the world’s most endangered primate species from extinction.

And the duo, who will be in quarantine until next spring, were followed on their journey by a film crew from the hit TV series Animal Planet.

Earlier this year, the Birmingham Nature Centre was invited to participate in the Golden Lion Tamarin and the Golden Headed Lion Tamarin breeding programmes.

In June, keepers welcomed three female golden headed lion tamarins – Nala and her two daughters Santo and Akasha – from Colchester Zoo.

The three have settled well and now have been joined at the Centre by Cortez and Pablo.

Birmingham City Council Cabinet Member for Leisure, Sport and Culture Cllr Martin Mullaney said: “Birmingham Nature Centre has a growing international reputation and it's a real honour that we are taking part in this breeding programme.

“For the Brazilian government to launch this programme gives a clear indication of the urgency of the situation. Now hopefully we can help safeguard these two endangered species for generations to come.

“This summer the three Golden Headed Lion Tamarins have become firm favourites with visitors to the Nature Centre and I'm sure that will be the case with the golden lion tamarins.”

The Golden Headed Lion Tamarin (Leontopithecus chrysomelas) is a lion tamarin endemic to Brazil. It is found only in the state of Bahia and is considered to be an endangered species.

Birmingham Nature Centre is also working to help save the rarest of all the lion tamarins, the Black Faced Lion Tamarin.

The species is now being monitored in the wild using radio transmitter technology and staff in Birmingham are providing support for students engaged in the project.

ENDS

Notes to editors

Nature Centre manager Les Basford is available for interview.

Photographs of the Golden Headed Lion Tamarins are available to download from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/birminghamnewsroom/sets/72157627012449076/

Located on Pershore Road, two miles south of Birmingham City Centre, the Birmingham Nature Centre homes a wide range of animals, both European and from across the world. The centre has a wide collection of endangered reptiles, and it plays an important role in international breeding programmes for them.

Before being accepted to take part in the breeding programme, Birmingham Nature Centre had to be assessed by Zoological Society of London Director David Field. After visiting the facilities, he wrote: “The Nature Centre is a real credit to all involved and will be a valuable member of the British Zoo Association and European Zoo Association. I look forward to continuing to work closely with Les Basford and the team in the future. It is great to have partners in our zoo  mission like the Birmingham Nature Centre – and as someone from the West Midlands it makes me very proud.”

For more information contact Geoff Coleman on 0121 303 3501

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