Besancon Zoo

Tahina, the Orphan Sifaka

The Besancon Zoo in Eastern France welcomed the arrival of a baby Sifaka in late December. 'Tahina' means 'needs to be protected' in malgache. With no mother to protect her, 'Tahina' is seen living up to her name by clinging tightly to a surrogate stuffed Mommy Lemur.

(Jeff Pachoud/AFP/Getty Images)



A four to five month gestation period ends with the birth of a single offspring in July. The young holds fast to the mother's belly when small, but then later is carried on her back. Young are weaned after about six months and reach full maturity at the age of two to three years. The life expectancy of the sifakas is up to 18 years.