12/06/2017

Crowned lemur born at Bristol Zoo Gardens

A crowned lemur has been born at Bristol Zoo Gardens as part of a captive breeding programme for this threatened species.

The baby lemur was born to mum Tiako and dad Loko and is already progressing well.

But keepers at the Zoo in Clifton do not yet know whether the baby is a boy or a girl.

Sarah Gedman, mammals team leader, said: “When they are infants it can be difficult to determine which sex they are.

“Female crowned lemurs are predominantly grey in colour while in comparison the males are a darkish brown. This colour difference between the sexes develops more clearly with age.”

The baby lemur is now one of six crowned-lemurs at the 180-year-old Zoo and its birth is part of a vital breeding programme.

It is carried around clinging under its mum’s tummy like a belt but will switch to her back after a few months. It will be more than a year before it is fully grown.

Lemurs are in in danger because their natural habitat in Madagascar is being lost.

Sarah said: “The Bristol Zoological Society does a great deal of work with lemurs in the wild and every birth helps towards raising awareness of conservation efforts helping to save them from extinction.”

Crowned lemurs get their name from the distinct crown pattern on top of their heads. A females crown is orange whereas the males is a lot darker.

They live in breeding pairs with their offspring and not in large social groups like ring tailed  lemurs.

Sarah said: “This pair of crowned lemurs breed once a year typically between May and July here at Bristol Zoo, a few months before their wild counterparts in Madagascar whose breeding season is between September and October.”.

“In the wild they breed at this time of year because it is the beginning of the rainy season  when there is most vegetation and food availability in the dry forests of Madagascar.”

Bristol Zoo Gardens is a conservation and education charity and relies on the support of its visitors to fund its animal conservation work in the zoo and with endangered species around the world, which help save wildlife from going the same way as the dinosaurs - extinct.

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