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A Labor of Lemur Love

Unable to nurse for itself, this little Ring-tailed Lemur is being hand raised by zoo keepers at the Franklin Park Zoo. Just like a human baby, the little guy requires around the clock care, but the staff at the zoo have experience with sleepless nights and the lemur has been growing steadily since its birth on February 18th (the sex is still unknown).

Ring tailed lemur baby Zoo New England 1  
Ring tailed lemur baby feeding Zoo New England 2

Franklin Park Zoo celebrates the birth of a ring-tailed lemur

The baby is being hand-reared behind the scenes by Zoo staff

 

Boston, Mass.; April 3, 2009 – Since the birth of ring-tailed lemur on February 18, the staff at Franklin Park Zoo’s Tropical Forest has been busy with an around-the-clock feeding schedule to care for the baby.

 

The lemur is being hand-raised behind the scenes because it was unable to nurse from its mother Lulu. Zoo New England’s animal care and veterinary staff prefer to have baby animals raised by their mothers, as they would be in the wild, but because the baby was unable to nurse hand-rearing was the best option for its survival.

 

“Our staff is skillfully hand-raising the baby lemur for at least the first four months of its life. The baby requires an extraordinary amount of time, care and attention,” said John Linehan, Zoo New England President and CEO. “We are hopeful that this baby will continue to thrive and that guests will soon be able to delight in this new addition when they visit the Tropical Forest.”

 

Franklin Park Zoo has six lemurs in its animal collection, including the new baby. The adults – Emily, Lulu, Nebuchadrezzer and Tango (the baby’s father) – are all exhibited in the Tropical Forest, along with Maki, who was born on April 25, 2008. Like the new baby, Maki, the first offspring of Lulu and Tango, was also hand-reared by zoo staff because he was unable to nurse from his mother. Maki is a true success story at the Zoo as he was successfully reintroduced to the lemur group.

 

ZNE participates in the Ring-tailed Lemur Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is a cooperative, inter-zoo program coordinated nationally through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. SSPs are designed to maintain a genetically diverse and demographically stable captive population.

 

Ring-tailed lemurs are listed as a vulnerable species with numbers ranging from 10,000 to 100,000 in their native Madagascar. These small primates are one of 22 species of lemurs, all of which share a common ancestry with Africa’s apes and monkeys.

 

ZNE has exhibited lemurs since the 1970s. Lemurs are noted for their wide-round eyes and their white and black, long banded tails. These animals, which are active during the day, inhabit dry brush, scrublands and closed canopy forests.

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