A baby Blue-Eyed Lemur has been receiving very special care at its home at the La Palmyre Zoo. When the youngster appeared weak and was having trouble clinging to its mother's fur following its birth on April 9th, keepers sprang into action to hand raise the baby, providing 24-hour care.
The little girl, the first of this species born at the zoo since they began caring for its kind eleven years ago, has been making great progress and is growing at a steady rate. After removing it for care, keepers brought its entire family to the nursery to make sure that the parents stayed in visual contact with the newborn. Now, at two months of age, the baby is healthy and reportedly very active.
Last week, both the newborn and its family were returned to their normal enclosure, however, for now the baby is remaining in its own cage within the enclosure as a precautionary measure due to its small size. When it is big enough, the baby will be slowly and carefully reintroduced to its entire family.
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Blue-Eyed Lemurs, like all lemurs, are native to Madagascar, an island nation off the East Coast of Africa. They are found primarily in the Northwestern region of the island. They live off of a diet of fruit, pollen, nectar and occasionally insects. The species is what is known as sexually dichromatic, meaning males and females are different colors. Males are solid black while females are reddish-brown. Both sexes possess the species' namesake blue eyes.
The Blue-Eyed Lemur is a social species, usually living in groups of between five and ten individuals. Females give birth once a year to either one or two infants in June or July following a four month gestation.
Like many lemur species, the Blue-Eyed Lemur is facing severe deforestation in their native habitat that threatens their survival. At this time they are facing very serious threats of extinction and are classified as "critically endangered" by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) with fewer than 1,000 individuals thought to be left in the wild. The IUCN's Primate Specialist Group lists them as one of the world's 25 most endangered primates making this birth especially important for the world's primate biodiversity.