Oakland Zoo Welcomes New Companion for Lonely Tamarin, Electra

Oakland Zoo
May 7, 2019

Oakland Zoo Welcomes New Companion for Lonely Tamarin, Electra


Oakland Zoo is happy to announce newest member to the Zoo family,Alberto, who provides needed companionship for female cotton-topped tamarin, Electra, after the passing of her former companion, Felix. 


New companion male, Alberto, following cotton-topped tamarin female, Electra, around his new Oakland Zoo home. Photo credit: Steven Gotz


Oakland, CA – May 7th, 2019… Oakland Zoo welcomes a new cotton-topped tamarin male, Alberto, to the Zoo family. Tamarin’s weigh about one pound and are the size of a squirrel monkey. Alberto came to the Oakland Zoo from Ellen Trout Zoo in Lufkin, Texas and was recently introduced to female tamarin Electra who has been alone after the passing of male tamarin, Felix, last year. Zookeepers are optimistic that the match is a success and the tamarins are already bonding with one another.


“Tamarins live in family groups in their native Colombia and they can become depressed if kept alone.  Electra hasn’t quite been herself since Felix passed away and we are already seeing many positive changes in her behavior since being introduced to the new guy” says Andrea Dougall, Oakland Zoo’s Animal Keeper.


Alberto & Electra serve as tamarin conservation ambassadors alongside their counterparts in the wild. Photo Credit: Steven Gotz

The decision to bring Alberto tamarin was based on factors including social challenges he was experiencing with his group at Ellen TroutZoo. Zookeepers believed the move would be beneficial to both Electra andAlberto. He is currently adjusting quite well to his new forever home and following Electra tamarin’s lead on how to navigate around the habitat. Keepers have seen many positive changes in her behavior since Alberto has joined her in the habitat. 


Keepers are hopeful that the pair may breed and contribute to theSpecies Survival Plan for tamarins. The Species Survival Plan Program (SSP) was developed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (which Oakland Zoo is accredited by) to help ensure the sustainability of a healthy, genetically diverse, and demographically varied AZA population. Alberto is a good match for her genetically.


Electra and Alberto will serve as ambassadors alongside their counterparts in the wild to educate Oakland Zoo’s guests about threats cotton-topped tamarins face in the wild and how they can help conservation to support the species.


Oakland Zoo is home to four tamarins and they can be seen daily in the zoo’s Tropical Rainforest area.




Oakland Zoo, home to more than 850+ native and exotic animals, is managed by the Conservation Society ofCalifornia (CSC); a non-profit organization leading an informed and inspired community to take action for wildlife locally and globally. With over 25conservation partners and projects worldwide, the CSC is committed to conservation-based education and saving species and their habitats in the wild.Oakland Zoo is dedicated to the humane treatment of animals and is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the national organization that sets the highest standards for animal welfare for zoos and aquariums.


Tamarins are a New World monkey found in the tropical forest edges and secondary forests in northwesternColombia, about the size of a squirrel making them one of the smallest primates. They are in the same family as the marmoset. The Cotton-Top Tamarinis one of the most endangered primates in the world. These tiny monkeys weigh about one pound, are highly social and family-oriented, and are found only in the tropical forests of northern Colombia. The greatest threat to their survival is deforestation, but they are also victims of poaching for the pet trade. Oakland Zoo’s conservation partner, Proyecto Tití, works to save habitat, curb the illegal pet trade, and educate the community. They are currently working to create a wildlife corridor to connect some remaining tamarin habitats.