A rare Crowned Lemur was born at NaturZoo Rheine, Germany on May 7. This is the first time this species has reproduced successfully in this zoo.
The birth took place during daytime within the habitat called “Lemur-Forest”. The exhibit is also home to Ring-tailed Lemurs and Red-bellied Lemurs. All the co-inhabitants were separated to provide the birthing female with the least disturbances as possible. Later, she moved to the indoor-room, where she stayed for a few days to ensure full bonding with her baby and to allow time to get accustomed to her new maternal role. After a week, she was successfully reunited with the male Crowned Lemur and the other species in the exhibit.
Crowned Lemurs (Eulemur coronatus) are listed as “Endangered” by the IUCN. In Madagascar they are threatened by habitat destruction and hunting. European Zoos are cooperating within a coordinated breeding-programme (EEP) to maintain an “insurance population” of these lemurs, which in future might provide animals for re-stocking or release in their native range.
There are currently some 80 Crowned Lemurs in European zoos. The baby born at NaturZoo Rheine will contribute to this hopefully growing population.
The sex of the newborn is still unknown, and it might take several more weeks to determine. Male and female Crowned Lemurs are sexually dichromatic, with different pelage coloration especially on the head.
According to staff at NaturZoo Rheine, it doesn’t matter if there is a ‘prince’ or a ‘princess’ in their midst: either would be considered precious like crown-jewels.