Comparison of indoor and captive, free-roaming management in golden-headed lion tamarins (Leontopithecus chrysomelas) at Zürich Zoo.
Animal Welfare 2011, 20: 205-210. ISSN 0962-7286
Traditional husbandry practices for the public display of Callitrichidae involve strict separation of animals and public. An important consideration for the evaluation of such management is the occurrence of health problems and potential zoonotic risks. This study compared animal data and veterinary records from a captive, free-roaming population of golden-headed lion tamarins (Leontopithecus chrysomelas) with a population housed under indoor management. The captive, free-roaming group grew significantly faster than the indoor-housed group, as less animals died and offspring were more successfully weaned. No differences in the causes of death were detected between the two husbandry practices. However, bacterial diseases were most common and diagnosed significantly more often under indoor management. This study suggests that the captive, free-roaming management of golden-headed lion tamarins can be conducive to increased reproductive success, improved health and improved welfare. Therefore, current husbandry recommendations for captive, free-roaming conditions were supported by the findings of the present study as a valuable housing practice where health regulations and proper husbandry parameters permit.