There is a new member of the family in the Idaho Falls Zoo who came all the way from the Phoenix Arizona Zoo. Tunda is a cotton-top tamarin which is the smallest species of monkey.
After Chad, the Idaho Falls cotton-top tamarin male, lost his 20-year-old mate, Idaho Falls Zoo workers got in contact with the Species Survival Plan through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to find him a new mate.
“And so, for his own mental health and well-being we couldn’t keep him alone for very long," said Sunny Katseanes, the Idaho Falls Zoo education curator.
Tamarins come from very few places in South America and are one of the most endangered animals due to deforestation. That is why it was crucial for Chad to have a new mate. However, it was not that easy to get Tunda from Arizona to Idaho. After contacting the Idaho Falls Airport, a plan was put into place.
Once the Allegiant Air staff heard about Tunda they were inspired to give her a spot to go on a flight. Even though they have a pet cabin policy which is only for dogs or cats they decided to make an exception to get her to Idaho as fast as possible.
“We worked with the TSA Agent in Phoenix at the Phoenix Airport,” Katseanes said. “They were great, they escorted Tunda and her keeper throughout the airport. Tunda got her own little boarding pass and they got on an Allegiant flight and the Allegiant’s staff treated us like gold.”
After the flight and lots of effort from those trying to help, Tunda finally arrived at the Idaho Falls Zoo and has been adjusting very well to her new home, Katseanes said.
“Her and Chad absolutely are enthralled with each other they have been inseparable since we put the two of them both of them together,” she said.
The Idaho Falls Zoo is closed until April 11, but you can learn more about her in the Idaho Falls Zoo Facebook Page or in their press release.