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.
Photo 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.
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.
Photo Credits: Julie Larsen Maher / WCS
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.
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.
Photo Credit: Philadelphia Zoo
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.
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.
Photo Credits: Cango Wildlife Ranch
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.
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.
Photo Credits: Sasha Brook (1,2,3) / Taronga Western Plains Zoo
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.
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.
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.”
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.
It has been just a few months since the famous lemur, known as ‘Zoboomafoo’, passed away at the age of 20, and fans of the popular television show mourned the loss. Duke Lemur Center, home to Zoboomafoo, is excited to share the encouraging news of the birth of his fifth grandchild!
Photo Credits: Duke Lemur Center
Zoboomafoo’s real name was ‘Jovian’, and his legacy lives on in seven surviving offspring and five grandchildren. Jovian’s television legacy continues, as well. The PBS children's show “Zoboomafoo”, aired from 1999 to 2001 and continues to entertain children in syndication.
Newborn granddaughter, ‘Isabella’ is a Coquerel’s Sifaka. She was born to Jovian’s oldest son, ‘Charlemagne’, and his mate, ‘Pompeia’, at the Duke Lemur Center on Jan. 25, 2015. Weighing a healthy 3.8 ounces (110 grams) at birth, the baby and mom received a clean bill of health from veterinarians.
Though she is Jovian's fifth grandchild, Isabella is the first to be born at the Lemur Center.
Lemur Center veterinarian, Dr. Cathy Williams, said, “Successful births like Isabella really embody what we try to do here at the Lemur Center, which is to breed these animals that are extremely endangered in the wild, to learn about them, to give them a good existence and to try to prevent them from going extinct.”
As Isabella’s due date approached in January, lemur keepers checked mother, Pompeia, every morning for a new baby. In the early hours of January 25th, keepers discovered Pompeia sitting high up in her suite, with the baby clinging tightly to her tummy.
Lemur keepers and veterinarians kept a close watch on the newborn for signs of illness. They observed Isabella clinging tightly to mother’s abdomen and nursing, and she continues to gain weight -- all signals that the baby is healthy and mom is providing good care.
After a week to allow mom and baby to bond, dad Charlemagne (‘Charlie’ to his keepers), was slowly introduced to the infant. Within a few days Pompeia was letting the new dad groom and lick the infant. The family now spends all day together, while keepers observe the family’s interactions.
“Charlie put his head down close to the baby and started to ‘sing’ to the baby,” said keeper supervisor, Britt Keith. Coquerel’s Sifakas use quiet, soft vocalizations, similar to a low “coo”, as they greet one another and touch noses. “He’s going to be a great father, just like his father [Jovian] was.”
The Duke Lemur Center announces their first birth of 2015. Lupicina, a female Coquerel’s Sifaka, was born on January 8.
Photo Credit David Haring/Duke Lemur Center
Lupicina’s parents are female Euphemia and male Lucius Verus. She weighed less than a quarter-pound at birth (about 103 g) and is doing well under Euphemia’s care. Lucius Verus and the baby’s uncle Thrax are gradually being introduced to mom and baby.
Found only in Madagascar, Coquerel’s Sifakas are a type of Lemur. They are most well known for their unusual method of locomotion called vertical clinging and leaping. While in a vertical posture, they leap up to 20 feet through the trees using only the power of their back legs, not their arms. On the ground, they hop sideways on their back feet while standing erect.
Sifakas are named for their distinctive “shif-auk” call they make while moving through the treetops. In the forest, they feed on young leaves, fruit, tree bark, and flowers, and have been recorded foraging on 98 different plant species.
Highly social, Sifakas live in groups of three to 10 animals. The Sifaka colony at the Duke Lemur Center has produced more young than any other colony in the world. About half of the Center’s 60 Sifiakas live at zoos around the United States. In Madagascar, Sifaka populations have declined by half in the last 50 years, primarily due to habitat destruction and hunting pressures. They are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
On Monday, November 10, 2014, ‘Jovian’, an endangered Coquerel’s Sifaka Lemur and star of the popular children’s show “Zoboomafoo”, passed away. Today we are sharing pictures of Jovian from 1994, when he was a new zoo baby!
Photo Credits: Duke Lemur Center
Jovian was famous as "Zoboomafoo" the leaping, prancing otherworldly star of the PBS KIDS show by the same name, hosted by brothers Martin and Chris Kratt. He was a graceful, long-limbed co-star with cream and russet fur and bright, intelligent yellow eyes and he taught millions of children what a Lemur is. The show aired 65 episodes in just over two years, 1999-2001, and continues in syndication.
Brothers, Martin and Chris, created the show to teach children about wildlife. They chose a talking Lemur puppet as their co-host, but they also wanted to use footage of a real Lemur in the show, as well. Duke Lemur Center, at Duke University, where Martin Kratt graduated with a zoology degree, was contacted and Jovian became a star.
Jovian was living at the Duke Lemur Center, when he passed away from kidney failure at the age of twenty. He leaves behind seven children, four grandchildren, and two more grandchildren on the way.
A spunky Ring-Tailed Lemur born on September 22 is growing up fast at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo. The female baby is named Madi, which is short for Madagascar, the home of Ring-Tailed Lemurs in the wild.
Photo Credit: Fort Wayne Children's Zoo
Madi was born to first-time parents Kyna and Ombe. Their breeding was recommended by the Species Survival Plan, a program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums that seeks to maintain genetic diversity in zoo-dwelling populations of endangered animals.
Female Ring-tailed Lemurs are pregnant for four to five months. Baby Lemurs are born with lots of hair and with eyes wide open. At first, babies cling to their mothers’ chests, but later ride on their backs. At about six months of age, the young are independent.
Lemurs live nowhere else in the world except Madagascar. Unfortunately, less than 10% of Madagascar’s forest cover remains and due to this drastic loss of habitat, Ring-tailed Lemurs are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.