The Buttonwood Park Zoo has a lot to celebrate this holiday season – including the birth of bearded emperor tamarin twins.

Pepper, a 3-year-old bearded emperor tamarin, came to the BPZoo in 2018 from Twycross Zoo in the United Kingdom. She gave birth to the twins on October 20. This is her first offspring and the first time the BPZoo has witnessed the birth of bearded emperor tamarins.

Pepper and the twin’s father, Jack, a 4-year-old from the Blackpool Zoo in the United Kingdom, came to the BPZoo to help boost the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ population of this species.

Currently, there are only 33 bearded emperor tamarins in 11 AZA institutions – including the four residing in New Bedford.

“This important birth will not only improve the genetic diversity of this species in North America but allow the zoo to raise awareness to the many field projects the Zoo supports for primates in the wild,” said BPZoo director Keith Lovett.

Native to Bolivia, Brazil, and Peru, the small, tree-dwelling monkeys reside in lowland tropical rainforest. Their diet consists of tree sap, fruits, insects, and eggs. While they are not currently endangered, rapid deforestation, infrastructure construction and popularity within the illegal pet trade may threaten this species in the near future, the zoo said.

The zoo is inviting people to come visit Pepper, Jack, and their twins. Their Rainforests, Rivers & Reefs exhibit is happening now.  The Zoo is located at 425 Hawthorn Street in New Bedford and is open from 9 am to 4 pm daily throughout the winter. Ticket prices for non-New Bedford residents are $10 for adults and $6 for children ages 3-12. Ticket prices for New Bedford residents are $7.50 for adults and $4.50 for children 3-12.

Enter your number to get our free mobile app