Friday, July 13, 2007

Endangered Black and White Ruffed Lemur Introduced at Sacramento Zoo

The Sacramento Zoo is pleased to announce its newest arrival—one male Black & white ruffed lemur—born to 8-yr old parents. This is the second set of offspring for this pair. The mother is taking exceptional care of her infant which has not yet been named. The three lemurs born last year and the father remain in the exhibit.

The infant was found in the “nest” on the morning of May 16th. Two lemurs were born, but the other male died shortly after birth of natural causes. High infant mortality is not uncommon in this species. Although ruffed lemurs are capable of having up to six infants at a time, typically two or three youngsters (weighing about 100 grams each) are born.

Black and white ruffed lemurs live in small groups of 2 to 16 individuals. Females are dominant over males in their groups. A female yearling will often be forced out of the group by the breeding female when the next litter is born. “Here at the Sacramento Zoo, we are working to keep our female yearling born in 2006 a part of the group. To do so, we have kept the female yearling with the mother when she gave birth and each night since. We also rotated each one of the male yearlings inside at night to keep the youngsters familiar with the mom and infant.,” said Leslie Field, Lead Zookeeper/Supervisor. “All three yearlings are very comfortable with the new baby and the mom has shown no signs of excluded the young female,” Field said. This is a unique situation and our animal care staff collaborated with other zoos to formulate the best plan to keep our group well-bonded.

Like all lemurs, Black and white ruffed lemurs are endangered. Due to loss of habitat and food resources, forest fires, clearing of land for agriculture and hunting, wild populations are at critical numbers.

Story here.

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