First Sifaka of the Year for Duke Lemur Center
February 21, 2015
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.