Feeling very sleepy . . . cotton-top tamarin monkey Gismo gets an annual check up, blood test and microchip.
Feeling very sleepy . . . cotton-top tamarin monkey Gismo gets an annual check up, blood test and microchip.

Just a little monkey business



IT'S usually all about cats, dogs and the occasional budgie for vet Andrew Dunn, but there was some monkey business going on at Pacific Vetcare this week.

Three cotton-top tamarins from Coffs Harbour Zoo ? five-year-old twins Gismo and Cisco, and seven-year-old Newton ? turned up for their annual check-ups, some blood tests, and to be implanted with microchips.

"We popped the anaesthetic into the cat carrier they arrived in," Dr Dunn said.

"Unlike cats and dogs, we can't give them intravenous anaesthetic because they get scared and nervous, and can hurt themselves or the handlers.

"So to do it that way is a lot less stressful on both the animals and the handlers."

Due to heavy logging, the pet trade, and scientific research, cotton-top tamarins are highly endangered, with only about 2500 left in the wild in South America.

They are protected internationally under the Convention Against International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and only 16 zoos in Australia are authorised to keep them.

Coffs Harbour Zoo hopes to get a breeding pair in the future.



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