European FIRST as Rare ‘Dancing Lemur’ Born at Chester Zoo

Conservationists at Chester Zoo become the first in Europe to successfully breed a rare Coquerel’s sifaka lemur.

The precious youngster arrived to parents Beatrice (10) and Elliot (10) – 18 months after the duo were translocated from the USA to Chester Zoo to begin a vital new conservation breeding programme, designed to protect the crtically endangered primates from extinction.

Born with a thick fuzzy white coat and weighing just 119 grams, experts say the baby will cling tightly to mum’s belly for several weeks, before riding on her back like a backpack until around six months old.

European FIRST as rare ‘dancing lemur’ born at Chester Zoo (18)

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Infant Announcement: Meet Camilla, The First Infant Of 2022!

On Christmas morning, many children are excited to see what Santa has brought them. Animal care technicians at the Duke Lemur Center also received a special delivery on December 25: Camilla, a critically endangered Coquerel’s sifaka! Camilla is the first infant of the season and the second infant born to Lupicina (Lupi) and Elagabalus ( (Gabe). This family group also includes older brother Felix.

In the Northern Hemisphere, Coquerel’s sifakas are typically born between December and March. Camilla’s birth on December 25 marked the start of Duke Lemur Center’s 2022 birth season. It’s a distinction that runs in the family: Felix, born on December 21, 2021, was the first infant last birth season; and Gabe,  born on December 23, 2017, was the first infant of 11 births ( at the Center in the 2017-18 birth season.

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Coquerel’s Sifaka Baby Makes Debut at Bronx Zoo


A Coquerel’s sifaka (Propithecus coquereli) born at the Bronx Zoo has made its public debut.

The birth is the result of the hard work and husbandry expertise of the Bronx Zoo’s keepers and will be featured on this week’s episode of Animal Planet’s THE ZOO. The story follows the adult sifakas as they are introduced for the first time in hopes that they will eventually mate.

Julie Larsen Maher_4890Coquerel's Sifaka and Baby_MAD_BZ_09 09 21

The baby is a male and was born over the summer. The Bronx Zoo breeds sifakas as part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP) program, a cooperative breeding program administered by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to maintain genetic diversity and demographic stability in zoo populations. 

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First Sifaka Born in Great Britain Debuts at Cotswold


Cotswold Wildlife Park is celebrating the arrival of the first-ever Crowned Sifaka to be born in Great Britain. The baby male, named Yousstwo, is the first baby for new parents Bafana and Tahina. Cotswold Wildlife Park is the only mainland zoological collection in Great Britain to keep this endangered Lemur species.

5 Photo credit Jackie Thomas (Image 3)
22Photo Credits:  Cotswold Wildlife Park, Jackie Thomas (photos 1 & 5)

Bafana arrived at the Park in 2009 from Besancon Zoo in France. Tahina joined him in 2013, from the same zoo, and the pair formed an instant bond. They are the only breeding pair in the country. Tahina is also the first hand-reared Sifaka in history to parent-rear her own offspring and is proving to be an exceptional mother.

The birth was caught on a closed-circuit camera which had been installed so keepers could keep an eye on Tahina without disturbing her.

Females are only sexually receptive for just one or two days a year, so the window of opportunity for males to father offspring is small. After a gestation period of approximately 165 days, females give birth to a baby completely covered in white fur and weighing less than four ounces. Infants are able to grip their mother’s fur from birth and they cling onto her belly for the first few weeks of life. After eight weeks, they start to develop the distinctive darker markings the Crowned Sifaka is famous for. They become independent at around six months old.

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Endangered Sifaka Born at the Maryland Zoo


The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore is pleased to announce the October 25th birth of a Coquerel’s Sifaka.

“We are so excited to have this new baby join our Sifaka troop,” stated Erin Cantwell, mammal collection and conservation manager. “Mom and baby have spent the past weeks bonding in a quiet off-exhibit area, and we have been gradually introducing them to the exhibit in the Chimpanzee Forest with Gratian and older sister Leo.”

This is the fifth offspring for The Maryland Zoo’s Sifaka pair: Anastasia (Ana), age 12, and Gratian, age 14. Their previously born offspring, Otto and Nero, were born approximately nine months apart in 2011. They eventually moved to their new home at the Duke Lemur Center in 2013. The pair’s son, Max, born in 2013, was moved to the Los Angeles Zoo in 2014. Leo, born in 2014, remains at the Maryland Zoo with her parents and new sibling.

“It’s exciting to have another baby at the Zoo and contribute to the population of this species of endangered Lemur,” continued Cantwell. “Ana is a very good mother and the baby is growing rapidly.” The gender of the baby has yet to be determined.


3_JFB9758Photo Credits: Maryland Zoo

Sifaka are born with sparse hair and resemble tiny gremlins. In time, white hair soon grows in and they begin to resemble their parents. Newborn Sifaka ride on their mother’s belly for the first month, then graduate to riding on her back.

“By December, the baby should begin to sample solid food and crawl on Ana’s back periodically,” Cantwell said. “Before the New Year, when the baby is six to eight weeks old, he or she will begin to venture a few feet away from Mom, which is always nerve-wracking for us, but exciting for guests to watch.”

Sifaka males do not closely assist with the child rearing, although dad, Gratian, has taken a little interest in his previous offspring.

Coquerel’s Sifaka (Propithecus coquereli) are lemurs, native only to the island of Madagascar off the southeastern coast of Africa. Sifaka spend most of their lives in the treetops in two protected areas in the sparse dry, deciduous forests on the northwestern side of the island.

As with many species of Lemur, Coquerel’s Sifaka are classified as “Endangered” by the IUCN. Habitat loss due to deforestation is the leading threat to Sifaka, as is the case with many species of Lemur. Sifaka have a unique brown and white coloration, and are distinguished from other Lemurs by the way that they move. They maintain a very upright posture and, using only their back legs, leap through the treetops. They can easily leap more than 20 feet in a single bound. On the ground, they spring sideways off their back feet to cover distance.

This latest birth, at the Maryland Zoo, is the result of a recommendation from the Sifaka Species Survival Plan (SSP) coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). SSPs provide breeding recommendations to maximize genetic diversity, with the goal of ensuring the long-term survival of the captive population and the health of individual animals. The Maryland Zoo is one of only ten accredited zoos that house the 63 Coquerel’s Sifaka in the U.S.

During the winter, Zoo visitors can see Ana, Gratian, Leo and the new baby in the Sifaka exhibit inside the zoo’s Chimpanzee Forest. “The Sifaka will remain in their indoor habitat until mid-Spring when they will move to their outdoor habitat on Lemur Lane,” concluded Cantwell.

First Sifaka of the Year for Duke Lemur Center Photos 4-05_animal photographs_coquerel's sifakas_2015 infants__ pc 7199_DSC2776EDThe Duke Lemur Center announces their first birth of 2015. Lupicina, a female Coquerel’s Sifaka, was born on January 8. Photos 4-05_animal photographs_coquerel's sifakas_2015 infants__ pc 7199 6985_DSC2733 Photos 4-05_animal photographs_coquerel's sifakas_2015 infants__ pc6843 6985 7199_DSC Photos 4-05_animal photographs_coquerel's sifakas_2015 infants__ pc 7199 6985_DSC2962Photo 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.

Houston Zoo Staff Expert at Weighing New Baby Sifaka

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The Houston Zoo welcomed a rare baby Coquerel's Sifaka, born on January 28 to mother Zenobia and father Gaius. The baby weighed only 3.4 ounces (96 grams) at birth, and staff have been paying close attention to be sure it is nursing well and staying healthy. The goal is for it to reach about 7-8 pounds in adulthood. Houston Zoo Keepers have studied Sifakas in depth and learned that the key to preventing infant mortality was directly related to its steady weight gain. 

For the next three to four weeks, the infant will cling to its mother's belly for warmth and access to nutrition. Babies can decline in weight easily and weaken their grip on Mom’s fur as they lose strength. To prevent this, Keepers know to intervene if even a few grams are lost. That means Zoo vets must weigh the baby regularly and give needed fluids if necessary. In a quick and simple process, a decline can be reversed and the baby goes right back to mom. Then, for three to four months more, it will switch to riding on her back. 

Sifaka nurse

Sifaka weigh

 Photo Credit: Photo 1,Tina Carpenter/Houston Zoo, Photos 2,3,4,5: Stephanie Adams

Sifakas are from the Lemur family and are classified as Endangered in the wild. The species is from Madagascar, where deforestation has been getting worse every year and therefore poses a threat to their habitat, and thus their survival.

Read more about the weighing process and see more pictures after the fold:

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Hold On Tight, Baby Sifaka!


Meet Beatrice of Swabia, the newest addition to a noble line of Coquerel’s Sifakas at Duke Lemur Center. She has a close-knit family: a five-year-old mother, Rodelinda, an eight-year-old father, Marcus, and an older sister, 23 month-old Bertha of Sulzbach. (Duke Lemur Center is certainly proud of their Sifakas: the whole family is named after Roman Emperors.)

Photo credits: David Haring / Duke Lemur Center

Beatrice of Swbabia—Beatrice for short—is a healthy little heir. She weighed a respectable 107 grams at her birth on December 19th, and has since been growing in leaps and bounds.  She clings tightly to her mother, another sign of good health, but also spends some time with her father and sister who hold and groom the new baby.

Sifakas are named for their distinctive “shif-auk!” call.  They are known for their graceful sideways leaping across the ground, a dance that they share with ten other diurnal members of the lemur family Indriidae.


“Sifakas are really one of the Lemur Center’s flagship species,” says Andrea Katz, the Duke Lemur Center animal curator. The Duke Lemur Center was the first to ever successfully breed Sifakas. Only 56 Coquerel’s sifakas live in captivity. The Lemur Center owns every single one and manages them either on-site or through cooperative breeding loans with 9 other institutions across the United States. 

“We’ve learned a lot over the years about sifaka behavior, breeding behavior, mother-infant behavior… I think it’s fair to say that the Lemur Center is really viewed as the expert on Sifaka breeding management.”

Take a leap across the fold!

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Baby Sifaka Hitches a Ride on Mom


It's a girl! A baby Coquerel’s Sifaka (pronounced Cahk-ker-rells she-fahk), an endangered lemur species from Madagascar, was born at the St. Louis Zoo’s Primate House on January 16. For about a month the baby held onto mom's belly, but has recently "graduated" to riding on her back. This is the third offspring for mother, Almirena, age 9, from the Los Angeles Zoo, and father Caligula, age 13, from Duke Lemur Center. The baby will be named by the primate staff at a later date.

Lemurs are a group of primates that are found in the wild only in Madagascar, the fourth largest island in the world. The other primates, monkeys and apes, never reached the island. Without their competitive cousins, lemurs adapted to live in the varied habitats found in Madagascar.

Like many other types of lemurs, the Coquerel's Sifaka is in danger of extinction in the wild. These animals suffer from continued habitat loss, as their forest homes are logged for timber and turned into farmland.

Riding mom


Photo Credits: Ray Meibaum/Saint Louis Zoo

Read more about lemurs after the "hop"...

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Baby Crowned Sifaka Brings Hope and Joy

Sifaka belfast 2 CU

Born on January 15, 2011, baby Echo, a crowned sifaka, has staff at the Belfast Zoo jumping for joy! Keepers decided to call the baby Echo, as without successful breeding programmes this species will become nothing more than an echo of the past! 

Crowned sifakas are critically endangered in the wild with numbers so low that exact figures are unknown. There are only approximately twenty crowned sifakas in zoos across the world and with infant mortality rates currently at 80%, staff at Belfast Zoo are ecstatic with the new arrival and his progress. Parents Linoa and Andry are the last breeding pair of crowned sifakas in the British Isles and Belfast Zoo’s group is extra special as they are on loan from the Madagascan government. Echo’s birth now brings Belfast Zoo’s group total to five. 

Sifaka belfast 3 web

Sifaka belfast 1 web

“We were all very anxious in the first couple of weeks after Echo’s birth”, explains zoo curator, Julie Mansell. “When we discovered that Linoa was pregnant we were filled with both excitement and apprehension. We all know that the statistics are against us, but Echo is doing very well.”

Zoo manager, Mark Challis is thrilled, saying, “I am very proud of the zoo... All the hard work has certainly paid off. This achievement is colossal and let’s hope that it is an achievement that we can repeat in the future."

The crowned sifaka is a type of lemur, a group of primates found only in Madagascar.  Sifakas are classified as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as they believe Sifakas face a very high risk of extinction in the wild.