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Rare baby lemur welcomed at Bristol Zoo

A critically endangered Lake Alaotran gentle lemur has been born at Bristol Zoo Gardens.

Weighing as little as an apple, the new arrival is thriving in the care of mum, Alina, who already has two offspring – a daughter Antoka and son Maso – still currently in the family group.

Bristol Zoo has kept Critically Endangered Alaotran gentle lemurs since 1990 and the latest birth is great news for the survival of this species. Alaotran lemur numbers are threatened in their native Madagascar due to habitat loss and hunting for food and the pet trade.

Sarah Gedman, mammal team leader at Bristol Zoo Gardens, said: “It’s always exciting to welcome a newborn and Alina is proving to be a fantastic mother and is very attentive towards her vocal baby.

“We will be keeping an eye on the pair as they get to know one another. Mum is protective and will be keeping it close to her.

Keepers do not yet know whether the new lemur is a boy or girl and it could be six months before they discover its gender.

Lake Alaotran gentle lemurs are the only primate to have adapted to living in reed and papyrus beds. When fully grown, male lemurs weigh just 1.2kg and females slightly heavier at 1.3kg, with both standing between 30 and 40cm tall. The lemurs are graminivores, meaning they feed on a variety of marsh vegetation such as reed and grasses, although papyrus leaves make up the majority of their diet.

Bristol Zoological Society is currently  involved in helping to build a new field station in Madagascar to help to save the lemurs.


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