Three curious and active Red Ruffed Lemur babies born at the Nashville Zoo are a boost to this critically endangered species.
The two females and one male were born on May 24, the eighth birthday of their mother, Lyra. Red Ruffed Lemurs are largest of all Lemur species, weighing up to 10 pounds as adults. Some Lemurs carry their babies, but Red Ruffed Lemurs leave their young in a nest, with the mother visiting the nest often to nurse and care for her babies. Zoo keepers expect the babies to emerge from the nest soon.
Photo Credit: Nashville Zoo
All Lemurs are native only to the African island of Madagascar, which has undergone dramatic ecological change in the past several decades. Illegal logging, burning of forests, cyclones, and illegal hunting have reduced available habitat and plunged Lemur populations into serious decline. Scientists estimate that only 1,000-10,000 Red Ruffed Lemurs remain in the wild.
About 600 Red Ruffed Lemurs live in zoos around the world. The Nashville Zoo participates in the Red Ruffed Lemur Species Survival Plan, a cooperative program to maintain genetically healthy populations of endangered animals in zoos.