Seeing Double, Two Adorable Ring-Tailed Lemurs Born at Taronga

Taronga Western Plains Zoo has welcomed two baby lemurs.

It’s been a bountiful breeding season at Taronga Zoo this year, just last month Taronga welcomed a baby chimp and a rhino calf to their ranks and now they have announced the birth of not one, but two new ring-tailed lemurs.

The two ring-tailed lemurs came from different mothers and were born just eight weeks apart. A male baby born to mother Rakitra and a female born eight weeks later to mother Cleopatra. The two mothers both came to Australia from Italy in 2012, to further Taronga’s ring-tailed lemur breeding program.

Image: Lemur and baby, Rick Stevens, Taronga Zoo

“It’s very exciting to welcome two healthy Ring-tailed Lemur babies this year, and particularly special to have one of each sex,” Keeper Sasha Brook said.

“Both babies are being well cared for by their experienced mothers, and can be spotted riding on their mothers’ backs at the Ring-tailed Lemur breeding facility,” Sasha said.
The birth of the female lemur is promising for Taronga’s breeding program as it offers better genetic diversification for the ring-tail lemurs.

“At three months of age, Rakitra’s male baby is already spending more time away from his mother and interacting with the two sets of twins born last year. He spends lots of time wrestling with them, and it’s great to see the twins playing gently with the baby,” Sasha said.

Image: Lemur and baby, Rick Stevens, Taronga Zoo

“At nearly five weeks of age, Cleopatra’s female baby is still developing her coordination skills, but we have noticed her also start to bounce away from her mother for short periods of time. Cleopatra is particularly relaxed around her Keepers, so she doesn’t mind her baby exploring.

“We’ll start to see the female baby play with others soon, including her older brother, but for now it’s very positive that she’s bonding with her mother,” Sasha said.

  The father of both babies, Dia is attentive and occasionally grooms both mothers and babies.  As the babies gain more independence, they will spend less time riding on their mother’s back, but at least for the first three months of their life, they will remain attached to their mother.

Both babies are suckling well from their mothers. While their diet consists mainly of milk at this stage, the older baby has already started eating fruit and vegetables alongside the adult Lemurs.

“Ring-tailed Lemurs have a complex array of calls. The babies have been starting to contribute to some of the adults’ calls, which is very special to witness,” Sasha said.

Ring-tailed lemurs are unique to the African island Madagascar and its neighbouring islands. They are currently classed as an endangered species due to habitat loss and hunting.

Lead Image: Rick Stevens, Taronga Zoo

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