Lemur

Lemur Quad Is Black-and-White…And 'Ruffed' All Over

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A pair of Black-and-white Ruffed Lemurs, at the National Zoo and Aquarium Canberra, Australia, became first time parents recently. Polo and Masina welcomed four adorable offspring in late October.

The Zoo shares the new parents’ excitement, as the babies will be important additions to the international breeding program for their species. The baby Lemurs are also the first of their species to be born at the National Zoo & Aquarium.

Keepers report that the fuzzy quadruplets are happy and healthy and are getting along well with Mum and Dad.

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4_B&W Ruffed Lemurs ZOO ACT 2016 Nov 1 (51a)Photo Credits: Image 1: Katie Ness/ National Zoo & Aquarium; Images 2,3,4,5: Rodney & Deborah Ralph

The Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur (Varecia variegata) is the more endangered of the two species of Ruffed Lemurs (both are endemic to the island of Madagascar).

The species has a complex social structure and is known for its loud, raucous calls. It is considered somewhat unusual because it exhibits several reproductive traits typically found in small, nocturnal Lemurs, such as: short a gestation period, large litters and rapid maturation. In captivity, they can live up to 36 years.

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Endangered Sifaka Born at the Maryland Zoo

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The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore is pleased to announce the October 25th birth of a Coquerel’s Sifaka.

“We are so excited to have this new baby join our Sifaka troop,” stated Erin Cantwell, mammal collection and conservation manager. “Mom and baby have spent the past weeks bonding in a quiet off-exhibit area, and we have been gradually introducing them to the exhibit in the Chimpanzee Forest with Gratian and older sister Leo.”

This is the fifth offspring for The Maryland Zoo’s Sifaka pair: Anastasia (Ana), age 12, and Gratian, age 14. Their previously born offspring, Otto and Nero, were born approximately nine months apart in 2011. They eventually moved to their new home at the Duke Lemur Center in 2013. The pair’s son, Max, born in 2013, was moved to the Los Angeles Zoo in 2014. Leo, born in 2014, remains at the Maryland Zoo with her parents and new sibling.

“It’s exciting to have another baby at the Zoo and contribute to the population of this species of endangered Lemur,” continued Cantwell. “Ana is a very good mother and the baby is growing rapidly.” The gender of the baby has yet to be determined.

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Sifaka are born with sparse hair and resemble tiny gremlins. In time, white hair soon grows in and they begin to resemble their parents. Newborn Sifaka ride on their mother’s belly for the first month, then graduate to riding on her back.

“By December, the baby should begin to sample solid food and crawl on Ana’s back periodically,” Cantwell said. “Before the New Year, when the baby is six to eight weeks old, he or she will begin to venture a few feet away from Mom, which is always nerve-wracking for us, but exciting for guests to watch.”

Sifaka males do not closely assist with the child rearing, although dad, Gratian, has taken a little interest in his previous offspring.

Coquerel’s Sifaka (Propithecus coquereli) are lemurs, native only to the island of Madagascar off the southeastern coast of Africa. Sifaka spend most of their lives in the treetops in two protected areas in the sparse dry, deciduous forests on the northwestern side of the island.

As with many species of Lemur, Coquerel’s Sifaka are classified as “Endangered” by the IUCN. Habitat loss due to deforestation is the leading threat to Sifaka, as is the case with many species of Lemur. Sifaka have a unique brown and white coloration, and are distinguished from other Lemurs by the way that they move. They maintain a very upright posture and, using only their back legs, leap through the treetops. They can easily leap more than 20 feet in a single bound. On the ground, they spring sideways off their back feet to cover distance.

This latest birth, at the Maryland Zoo, is the result of a recommendation from the Sifaka Species Survival Plan (SSP) coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). SSPs provide breeding recommendations to maximize genetic diversity, with the goal of ensuring the long-term survival of the captive population and the health of individual animals. The Maryland Zoo is one of only ten accredited zoos that house the 63 Coquerel’s Sifaka in the U.S.

During the winter, Zoo visitors can see Ana, Gratian, Leo and the new baby in the Sifaka exhibit inside the zoo’s Chimpanzee Forest. “The Sifaka will remain in their indoor habitat until mid-Spring when they will move to their outdoor habitat on Lemur Lane,” concluded Cantwell.


Rare Baby Aye-aye Not So Spooky

Aye-aye 2016 (c) ZSL Tony Bates (3)Sporting a crooked finger, piercing yellow eyes, and coming out only after dark, some might think this baby Aye-aye at ZSL London Zoo was custom-made for Halloween.  But the baby’s arrival is a rare event that will benefit efforts to conserve this unique species. 

The baby Aye-aye, born on August 1, is a first for ZSL London Zoo.  Named Malcolm, the infant emerged from its secluded nest box for the first time last week. 

Aye-aye 2016 (c) ZSL Tony Bates (4)Photo Credit:  Tony Bates/ZSL London Zoo

Aye-ayes, which are a species of Lemur, have an unusually large middle finger and are considered harbingers of doom in their native Madagascar.  Legend has it that if an aye-aye points its long finger at you, death is not far away.  In reality, Aye-ayes use the elongated digit to forage for tasty beetle larvae from inside trees.

Aye-ayes are solitary and nocturnal, so their habits are difficult to observe.  They eat, sleep, and mate high in the trees.   

Found only in Madagascar, Aye-ayes are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Like all species in Madagascar, they face enormous pressure from human activity, such as deforestation and agriculture.  Due to the belief that Aye-ayes portend doom, they are often killed by villagers.  Only about 50 Aye-ayes live in zoos worldwide.


Rare Lemur Born at San Diego Zoo

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On May 18, 2016, a male Red Ruffed Lemur was born at the San Diego Zoo’s behind-the-scenes Primate Propagation Center. It has been 13 years since the last Red Ruffed Lemur was born at the zoo, and excitement is in the air.

The San Diego Zoo has a successful history of breeding Red Ruffed Lemurs; in fact, more than 100 born have been born here since 1965. That success is attributed to the zoo’s Primate Propagation Center, a facility specifically designed for breeding Lemurs.

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Photo Credit:  San Diego Zoo

"Red Ruffed Lemur Morticia is a first-time mom, but she has proven to be a great mother,” said Kristen Watkins, a primate keeper at the San Diego Zoo. For the first week after the birth, it was important for keepers to get daily weights on the infant, to make sure he was gaining weight. A rising weight indicates that the baby is successfully nursing and that mom is taking good care of him. Morticia is willing to let keepers borrow her infant in exchange for some of her favorite fruits, but she is eager to get him back, Watkins said. The infant has been gaining about one-third of an ounce (10 grams) a day and is getting more active and aware of his surroundings. Although he currently weighs only 6.6 ounces (188 grams), Red Ruffed Lemur babies grow up fast. During his first month, keepers expect him to be exploring outside of his nest, with Morticia watching closely.

This rare species is included in Primates in Peril: The World’s 25 Most Endangered Primates, published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature SSC Primate Specialist Group, and every birth of a Red Ruffed Lemur is a critically important one. They are only found in one region in the entire world: the Masoala Peninsula in Madagascar, which is undergoing deforestation.

San Diego Zoo Global leads on-site wildlife conservation efforts at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents.


Critically Endangered Lemurs Born at Nashville Zoo

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Three curious and active Red Ruffed Lemur babies born at the Nashville Zoo are a boost to this critically endangered species.

The two females and one male were born on May 24, the eighth birthday of their mother, Lyra.  Red Ruffed Lemurs are largest of all Lemur species, weighing up to 10 pounds as adults.   Some Lemurs carry their babies, but Red Ruffed Lemurs leave their young in a nest, with the mother visiting the nest often to nurse and care for her babies.   Zoo keepers expect the babies to emerge from the nest soon.

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27397947625_fb26a375dc_oPhoto Credit:  Nashville Zoo

All Lemurs are native only to the African island of Madagascar, which has undergone dramatic ecological change in the past several decades.  Illegal logging, burning of forests, cyclones, and illegal hunting have reduced available habitat and plunged Lemur populations into serious decline.  Scientists estimate that only 1,000-10,000 Red Ruffed Lemurs remain in the wild. 

About 600 Red Ruffed Lemurs live in zoos around the world.  The Nashville Zoo participates in the Red Ruffed Lemur Species Survival Plan, a cooperative program to maintain genetically healthy populations of endangered animals in zoos. 

 


Two Lemur Species Debut Offspring at Bronx Zoo

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The Madagascar! exhibit at WCS’s (Wildlife Conservation Society) Bronx Zoo is now home to three new Lemur babies.

Two Ring-tailed Lemurs (Lemur catta) and one Brown Collared Lemur (Eulemur collaris) were born in late March and have made their public debut. Both species live in a naturalistic habitat depicting the Malagasy Spiny Forest along with critically endangered Radiated Tortoises and several bird species including Vasa Parrots, Red Fodies, Grey-headed Lovebirds, and Ground Doves.

Guests hoping to catch a glimpse of the new additions will have to observe closely as young Lemurs cling to their mothers and nestle in their fur.

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The Bronx Zoo has had tremendous success breeding Lemurs as part of Species Survival Plans, cooperative breeding programs designed to enhance the genetic viability of animal populations in zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

WCS works to save Lemurs and their disappearing habitat in the African island nation of Madagascar – the only place in the world where Lemurs are found in the wild.

Brown Collared Lemurs are native to the tropical forests of southeastern Madagascar. Ring-tailed Lemurs are native to the forests and bush in the south and southwestern portions of the island. Their habitats are being destroyed by human activity including charcoal production and slash-and-burn agriculture.

Ring-tailed Lemurs are very social and live in large matriarchal groups that often contain several breeding females. They are capable climbers, but spend much of their time on the ground. Newborns will ride on their mothers’ chest and back for the first few weeks and will begin move around on their own within two-to-four weeks, but still stay close to their mother.

Collared Lemurs use their long tails to balance when leaping through the forest canopy. They live in groups of males and females but are not matriarchal like many other Lemur species. The young ride on their mother’s back hiding in her fur for the first few months of their lives.

All Lemur species are in trouble due to devastating loss of suitable habitat. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classifies both Ring-tailed Lemurs and Brown Collared Lemurs as “Endangered” in the wild.

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Four Little Lemurs Born at Philadelphia Zoo

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Meet Philadelphia Zoo’s Black-and-white Ruffed Lemurs, born on February 21.  Together, these four fluffy babies weigh only one-third of a pound, but they add up to a ton of cuteness. 

The babies were born to 9-year-old Kiaka and 10-year-old Huey after a breeding recommendation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Species Survival Plan.  This program seeks to maintain genetically viable populations of rare and endangered animals.  Because of her genetic makeup, Kiaka is the most valuable breeding female of her species in the country.

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An excellent mother, Kiaka carries the babies in her mouth from one nest box to another, a typical behavior as the babies cannot move around on their own for the first few months. The siblings will nurse until they are about five to six months old, but will try solid foods at six to eight weeks of age.

Native to Madagascar, Black-and-white Ruffed Lemurs are listed as Critically Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature  due to poaching and habitat loss. 


Santa Was Good to Cango Wildlife Ranch

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The Christmas season is over, but it came early for Cango Wildlife Ranch, in South Africa… bearing the most precious gifts of life! They weren’t just blessed with one or two little bundles of joy; the storks were working overtime as they reached a record high 18 babies for the month of December!

Cango staff are still beaming from ear to ear... just like proud parents. They had an incredible litter of six Cheetah cubs born at the private reserve on November 16. The cubs are strong and healthy, as is mom.

As you can imagine, the only thing cuter than one Cheetah cub is six of them! They currently receive around-the-clock care at the C.A.R.E.S. (Care and Rehab of Endangered Species) facility, and will move to the ranch in early January. The cubs provide valuable new bloodlines, which will form part of Cango’s Cheetah Preservation Program and on-going conservation efforts throughout the next decade.

The season of excitement spread from six Cheetahs to a pair of twins! Picture a Lemur right out of the movie Madagascar---with a gorgeous long black and white striped tail curved overhead, bright orange eyes as wide as the sun and a fluffy grey body. Upon taking a closer look, there are four tiny hands wrapped around her body, closely nestled on her chest are her tiny clones with stringy tails and eyes wide and alert in their big bobble-heads. Too perfect for words! Whilst mom soaks up the morning sun, the babies get a little braver and often attempt to ‘venture’ off into the unknown, but the big adventure is never more than half a meter away and they clumsily hop back to mom. One can watch them for hours until they all curl up in a big ball to take an afternoon nap.

Cango’s next baby was born in their Wallaby Walkabout. Now as cute as all the babies are, staff are confident that the new little Joey is more than likely hogging second place. He finally revealed himself by peeking out of his moms pouch! Talk about luxury living… the little Joey enjoys around-the-clock climate control, all cushioned and snug, full ‘room-service’ for meals with all the safety features of a protective mom all in her pouch! He has since started braving the big world…. He often falls out of mom’s pouch but stays close and attentive at all times. At the sight of an intimidating dove, he hops back to mom and dives headfirst into her pouch, often forgetting that his lanky legs are still sticking out.

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All the animal mommies are doing a phenomenal job caring for their young ones but credit must be given to Cango Wildlife Ranch’s wonderful team of hand-raisers, as well. They have had their hands full over the past month. At times, it is vital to intervene and care for babies to ensure survival. Each and every life is important to them, and they endeavor to go above and beyond to ensure they provide the utmost care to every single animal at the facility. They often act as mums, when the real moms aren’t able.

Currently, two Swainsons Lorikeet chicks (as well as two eggs being incubated), two gorgeous little Von Der Decken’s Hornbills, one bright-eyed Malayan Flying Fox (bat), and four incredible Spotted Eagle Owls are in the hands-on care of staff at the Ranch.

The Lorikeets often need to be hand-raised, due to the larger males feeding on the eggs. Staff incubates all the eggs in the C.A.R.E.S. Centre and then cares for the hatchlings until they are on solid food and can return to the aviary. This also results in very special bonds formed between the birds and carers.

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New Ring-tailed Lemur at Taronga Western Plains Zoo

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Taronga Western Plains Zoo, in Australia, has welcomed a baby Ring-tailed Lemur! The female Lemur, which Keepers have named Imerina (after one of the old kingdoms of Madagascar), was born on August 25. 

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Zoo Keepers are thrilled with this breeding success, which comes three years after the arrival of three female Lemurs from Italy to commence the Zoo’s Ring-tailed Lemur breeding program.

“It’s wonderful to have a successful breeding season and a healthy baby on the ground,” Keeper Sasha Brook said. “Imerina is a strong baby and first time mother, Rikitra, is doing all the right things, nursing and grooming her baby well, which is great to see.”

In the past two to three weeks, Keepers have been delighted to see Imerina starting to explore a little bit independently of her mother.

“She has started to climb on her own and is also starting to mouth solid foods,” Sasha said. “Rikitra is never more than one to two meters away, keeping a watchful eye on her offspring, and rescuing her from any pickles she gets herself into! Imerina is also starting to jump onto her father Bruce’s back. Bruce is an experienced father so he’s taking things in his stride.”

For the short term, Keepers have separated Rikitra and her baby, along with Bruce, from the group’s two other females, to give them time to bond and prevent interference from the females.

“The family is currently alternating access to their island exhibit with the two females, and during the day they have access to their night yards so they can choose to go where they feel most comfortable,” Sasha said. “In time we will introduce the two females back to the group, as it’s important to keep the group cohesive. The females enjoy each other’s company usually; but we’re giving them some space.”

When Imerina grows up she will play a vital role in the Zoo-based Ring-tailed Lemur breeding program, and with Lemurs endangered in the wild due to habitat destruction, her birth is very important for the future of her species.

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King Julien Announces Birth of Royal Twins

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The world’s critically endangered Lemur population recently expanded by two! Twin Ring-Tailed Lemurs were born at the Duke Lemur Center, and both were named Princess Julien, after Madagascar’s most famous royal Lemur, King Julien. 

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Photo Credits: Duke Lemur Center

Princess Julien and her sister, Princess Julien, were born on May 4, but their birth was not announced until June 3, following a month of careful monitoring. The announcement was jointly made by Duke Lemur Center and by King Julien XIII, star of the Netflix original series, “All Hail King Julien” (DreamWorks Animation).

In an upset worthy of the tabloids, King Julien was shocked by the news that his heir apparent was not a boy (as he had anticipated following a prediction by his psychic adviser, Masikura the chameleon) and that his royal lineage would be secured with the birth of two females. Nonetheless, Julien was elated and decreed that both infant Lemurs would be named “Princess Julien”.

“I can’t believe they’re making more of me! This is so awesome!” said King Julien, speaking from his royal throne, atop the Baobab Tree, in Madagascar. “My first royal duty will be to teach Princess Julien and Princess Julien how to shake their booties and party in the most regal of ways.”

At birth, the first Princess Julien weighed 59 grams, while the second Princess Julien weighed 48 grams. Both girls were approximately 4 inches long.

Following a thorough check-up by researchers at the Duke Lemur Center, both females were healthy and clinging tightly to their mother, Sophia. Father Randy and grandmother, Cloris, have all been united as a family and are looking forward to meeting their namesake King Julien XIII.

“Male or female, every Lemur baby born is incredibly important,” said Janice Kalin, of the Duke Lemur Center, world’s largest Lemur research facility. “Lemurs have recently been classified as the world’s most threatened mammal group. Every time we can add one, two, or more to their ranks, it helps to stabilize the genetic diversity of these fascinating primates.”

Fans of King Julien can get regular updates about the growth and development of Princess Julien and Princess Julien by visiting the King Julien Facebook page at www.facebook.com/KingJulien or the Duke Lemur Center Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DukeLemurCenter.

An official naming ceremony for Princess Julien and Princess Julien will be held at the Duke Lemur Center on June 20, which will be presided over by the star of “All Hail King Julien”. This will be the first opportunity for the public to meet the Princesses and King Julien himself. For more information visit http://lemur.duke.edu/lemurpalooza-summer-2015/

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