Critically endangered species are among the smallest of primates

Staff Report

The Santa Barbara Zoo recently welcomed Stella and Mini, two cotton-top tamarin siblings who arrived at the Santa Barbara Zoo earlier this month from the Central Florida Zoo.

Stella is female and 6½ years old, and Mini is male and 5½ years old. Both were born at the Central Florida Zoo and came to Santa Barbara on a recommendation from the Species Survival Plan.

Cotton-top tamarins are one of the smallest species of primates and are found in a small area of northern Colombia where there are only about 6,000 individuals left in the wild. These small monkeys (they each weigh about 1 pound) play an important role in rainforest ecology by dispersing digested seeds throughout the forest. They are listed as critically endangered by the IUCN due to deforestation and illegal pet trade.

They vocalize using a shrill whistling sound that changes depending on what they are communicating to each other. These monkeys are named for the shock of white hair on the tops of their heads which stands out in contrast to the darker black and brown tones of the hair on the rest of their bodies.

Guests can visit the cotton-tops in their new home next to the capybaras on Zoo Train Lane.

The Santa Barbara Zoo is open daily from 9 a.m. for members and 9:30 a.m. for general admission until 5 p.m.; general admission is $19.95 for adults, $14.95 for children 2-12 and free for children under 2. Parking is $11. The Santa Barbara Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).  For more information visit