Keepers at Chester Zoo are celebrating the birth of a rare red-bellied lemur baby – the first of its kind to be born at the zoo.
Arriving six weeks ago to parents Aina and Frej, the tiny youngster weighed just 70 grams at birth – around the same weight as a banana!
Claire Parry, Assistant Team Manager of Primates at Chester Zoo, said:
“The birth of any lemur is real cause for celebration as these primates are vulnerable to extinction in the wild and every new arrival is a vital addition to the endangered species breeding program. This one, however, is extra special as it’s also the first baby red-bellied lemur ever to be born at Chester Zoo.
“Aina is a first-time mum who’s really taking motherhood in her stride – she’s very confident with her new addition. The baby is always seen clinging on tightly to her, which is exactly what we want to see, and this lovely little lemur looks incredibly content hidden in among mum’s warm fur.”
The birth is an important boost to the European breeding programme for the species as red-bellied lemurs are vulnerable to extinction in their native Madagascar – the only place where lemurs are found in the wild.
Experts say the destruction of their forest homes, caused by people for agriculture and timber, as well as hunting and the illegal pet trade, has resulted in huge declines for all of the island’s 100 different species of lemur.
For further information on visiting Chester Zoo go to www.chesterzoo.org