It's a girl! A baby Coquerel’s Sifaka (pronounced Cahk-ker-rells she-fahk), an endangered lemur species from Madagascar, was born at the St. Louis Zoo’s Primate House on January 16. For about a month the baby held onto mom's belly, but has recently "graduated" to riding on her back. This is the third offspring for mother, Almirena, age 9, from the Los Angeles Zoo, and father Caligula, age 13, from Duke Lemur Center. The baby will be named by the primate staff at a later date.
Lemurs are a group of primates that are found in the wild only in Madagascar, the fourth largest island in the world. The other primates, monkeys and apes, never reached the island. Without their competitive cousins, lemurs adapted to live in the varied habitats found in Madagascar.
Like many other types of lemurs, the Coquerel's Sifaka is in danger of extinction in the wild. These animals suffer from continued habitat loss, as their forest homes are logged for timber and turned into farmland.
Read more about lemurs after the "hop"...
The St. Louis Zoo is one of only eight U.S. institutions that are home to this species. The Zoo’s sifakas are part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Coquerel’s Sifaka Population Management Plan, which is responsible for maintaining a genetically healthy population of sifakas in North American zoos. The birth of this rare lemur in St. Louis represents a valuable genetic contribution to the North American sifaka population.
The Saint Louis Zoo is home to the international headquarters of the Madagascar Fauna Group, a consortium of zoos and aquariums committed to conserving lemurs and other wildlife species within their native habitat.