Twin Black and White Ruffed Lemurs born on February 19 are ready to explore their world at the United Kingdom’s Dudley Zoo.
The babies were born to 17-year-old Olivia and her 25-year-old mate, Broom. Since birth, the twins have been snuggled in their nest box with Olivia. But last week, one of the twins attempted a bold escape from the nest box when Olivia wasn’t looking! A nearby zoo keeper caught the escapade on camera. The babies now regularly explore their indoor habitat under mom's watchful eye.
The birth of these twins is significant because Black and White Ruffed Lemurs are Critically Endangered according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Found only on the island of Madagascar, these Lemurs have experienced a severe decline in population in the last few decades – up to an 80% drop by some estimates. Their large size (compared to other Lemurs) makes then a prime target for poachers and hunters who are trying to feed their families.
Efforts to reintroduce captive-born Lemurs to the wild have been suspended because there is little suitable habitat left for reintroduction. Madagascar’s forests and natural areas have been drastically altered due to human activity, including slash-and-burn agriculture.