San Diego, California - On May 18, a male red ruffed lemur was born at the San Diego Zoo’s behind-the-scenes Primate Propagation Center. It has been 13 years since the last red ruffed lemur was born at the Zoo, and excitement is in the air.
The San Diego Zoo has a successful history of breeding red ruffed lemurs; in fact, more than 100 born have been born here since 1965. That success is attributed to the Zoo’s Primate Propagation Center, a facility specifically designed for breeding lemurs.
Red ruffed lemur Morticia is a first-time mom, but she has proven to be a great mother, said Kristen Watkins, a primate keeper at the San Diego Zoo. For the first week after the birth, it was important for keepers to get daily weights on the infant, to make sure he was gaining weight. A rising weight indicates that the baby is successfully nursing and that mom is taking good care of him. Morticia is willing to let keepers borrow her infant in exchange for some of her favorite fruits, but she is eager to get him back, Watkins said. The infant has been gaining about one-third of an ounce (10 grams) a day and is getting more active and aware of his surroundings. Although he currently weighs only 6.6 ounces (188 grams), red ruffed lemur babies grow up fast. During his first month, keepers expect him to be exploring outside of his nest, with Morticia watching closely.
This rare species is included in Primates in Peril: The World’s 25 Most Endangered Primates, published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature SSC Primate Specialist Group, and every birth of a red ruffed lemur is a critically important one. They are only found in one region in the entire world: the Masoala Peninsula in Madagascar.
Guests at the San Diego Zoo can look forward to seeing the red ruffed family—and the rest of the Zoo’s amazing lemurs—when the new Conrad Prebys Africa Rocks exhibit area opens in summer 2017.
Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes on-site wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The work of these entities is inspiring children through the San Diego Zoo Kids network, reaching out through the Internet and in children’s hospitals nationwide. The work of San Diego Zoo Global is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.