At the Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary in Gainesville, Leiah the marmoset has found a new home — and love.
The primate sanctuary, at 13915 N. State Road 121, provides homes for 12 monkey species. Leiah, a 4-year-old common marmoset and former pet from South Florida, became the sanctuary's newest resident Saturday. Her former owners could no longer take care of Leiah after the death of her partner, Luke, said Lindsey Jean, one of the facility’s caretakers.
The monkeys at the sanctuary spend their days climbing and snacking on dried pineapples. Some were rescued from lab research while others were unwanted pets, said Megan Gulick,
Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary provides a home for 12 monkey species who usually are rescued from lab research or from being unwanted pets, another sanctuary caregiver.
“It’s kind of bittersweet when we have former pets,” Gulick said. “They were a member of the family, but they are a lot of maintenance.”
Common marmosets are about the size of a mango with dark, fuzzy fur and tufts of white, Einstein-like hair. The Central and South America natives can have multiple partners, Jean said.
“Because she’s a single lady, we put her around all the bachelors,” Jean said.
She may have already found a new mate in Bruno, a 7-year-old common marmoset, the ring-tailed boy next door.
“You can tell a potential mate from behaviors and facial expressions,” Jean said.
Leiah and Bruno often sit near each other along the runways connecting their cages to an outdoor space. Currently, forked barriers keep the two separated to ensure their safety. If all continues going well, the forks will be removed in a few weeks so they can groom and sleep with one another.
Raja, a 5-year-old common marmoset, has expressed interest in the new girl, but the threatening glares she gives with her soft brown eyes show she’s not that into him.
“She is very opinionated,” Jean said. “She lets others know who she does and does not like.”
Leiah, 4, arrived at her new home at the Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary in Gainesville on Saturday. Common marmosets in captivity usually live to be about 11 or 12 years old.