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Twycross Zoo's Baby Crowned Lemur Snacks on a Little Grass

1.2 Credit Phillipa Dobson 2 low res

Keepers at Twycross Zoo are celebrating the arrival of a baby Crowned Lemur, born on April 11. Experienced mom Rose is doing a superb job. Infants are initially carried on the mother’s front but as they grow heavier they are moved onto her back. The father takes and active role in parenting as well. Tony Dobbs, Section Head of Primates, said: “The baby arrived a few days earlier than we had expected but both mum and baby are doing very well. While Rose is looking after the newborn, the father, Rik, has taken on the role of the proud, protective father.”

In the wild the Crowned Lemur is confined to a small patch of forest in Madagascar and listed on the IUCN Red List  as Vulnerable. There their population is decreasing because their habitat is in rapid decline principally due to heavy mining, illegal logging and hunting for food.



Photo Credit: Phillipa Dobson

Zoological Director, Sharon Redrobe, added: “The Crowned Lemur, like all the lemur species, is under threat in the wild and therefore the role of the captive population is becoming more and more important. A successful birth such as this is a huge boost to the conservation of this species.”

You can get a glimpse to the baby tucked into mom's hip on this video:

Read more about the baby's family at the zoo and find Crowned Lemur facts, after the fold:

Twelve-year old mum, Rose, has bred successfully in the past - the new arrival has one sister at Twycross Zoo, three brothers at Belfast Zoo and two other siblings in European zoos. Roses’ latest addition will too play a vital role in the breeding program of this threatened species. 

Lemurs are sexually dimorphic; if the newborn turns out to be a boy, its fur will change color at around six months of age. Dobbs added: “The baby will stay close to its mother for the first few weeks, so close that we aren't even able to tell what sex it is yet! However as it gets that little bit older and braver it will start to venture off mum and start exploring its new world."

Lemurs are found only on the island of Madagascar off the coast of Africa, inhabiting dry and humid forests. It's reported that they inhabit all levels of the forest (though they are most likely to be found in lianas, thick cover and terminal branches). And yet, lemurs readily descend to the ground to eat fallen fruit or to travel.

Crowned Lemurs are different from other primates due to their dog-like muzzle and wet nose. Bonds in the group are strengthened through grooming. However, lemurs lack the ability to manipulate their fingers like other primates so instead groom with their bottom teeth, which stick out from the jaw creating a comb. 

 They are named after the crown of orange fur on their heads. They have a grey-brown coat with the females being slightly lighter colored with a white front.  In males there is also a black stripe across the top of the head.