Endangered lemurs celebrate their birthdays at Bristol Zoo

Two ring-tailed lemurs who were born within minutes of each other at Bristol Zoo Gardens have celebrated their first birthdays.

Alfalfa and Darla arrived early on April 3 last year when their mums Mavis and Ethel, who are twins, gave birth on the same night.

There was a third birthday too as their dad, Afu, was born on the same day in 2012.

The two young lemurs, who are named after characters in the children’s film The Little Rascals, have thrived as part of the colony of eight ring-tailed and three crowned lemurs and are now well on the way to being fully grown.

 Mammal keeper Lauren Cleeves said: “They are completely independent from their mums and have started interacting more within the group and are playing with the other lemurs.”

To celebrate their birthdays Alfalfa, Darla and Afu were given boxes of birthday presents containing their favourite treats including sweet potatoes, peppers, swede and parsnips.

Ring-tailed lemurs are very sociable animals and live in groups of between five and 30 in which the females are always dominant.

They are easily identified because of the black and white ringed pattern on their tails and are very popular, but they are classified as Endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species.

This is due to their forest habitat being destroyed for agriculture, charcoal production and mining for gemstones and minerals. Lemurs are also threatened as a result of hunting.

The ring-tailed lemurs at Bristol Zoo Gardens live in a walk-through enclosure which is sponsored by Redmaids’ High School. The money from their sponsorship helps support conservation work in the lemurs’ native Madagascar.

Bristol Zoological Society is a conservation and education charity. It relies on the generous support of the public not only to fund its important work in the zoo, but also its vital conservation and research projects spanning five continents. 


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