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Chester Zoo Celebrate First Red-bellied Lemur Birth

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: May 21, 2021 2:10 am

Red-bellied Lemur Infant Chester

The new born red-bellied lemur clings to its mother at Chester Zoo

Photo Credit: Amanda Carberry/ Columbus Zoo and Aquairum

Conservationists at Chester Zoo have celebrated their first ever breeding of a red-bellied lemur. The fluffy youngster was born on March 31st 2021 to mother Aina, 4 and father Frej, 8. It was born after a 127 day pregnancy.

The gender of the infant remains unknown. At birth the youngster was almost hidden among mom's thick fur. At birth it would of weighed around 70g (2.5oz), the same size as a banana.

Red-bellied Lemur Infant Chester

The new born red-bellied lemur clings to its mother at Chester Zoo

Photo Credit: SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium

The birth is an important occurrence for the European breeding programme for the red-bellied lemur. They are considered vulnerable to extinction in their native home of Madagascar.

Destruction of their forest home for agriculture and timber as well as hunting for meat has created huge declines for the 100 different species of lemur found in Madagascar.

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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 programme. 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.”

Red-bellied Lemur Infant Chester

The eastern massasauga rattlesnake hatchlings at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Photo Credit: SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium

Mike Jordan, Director of Animal and Plants at the zoo, added: “With lemurs considered as being the most endangered group of mammals in the world by the IUCN, every birth is significant. Lemurs are endemic to Madagascar where they are severely under threat with over 94% of all lemur populations at risk of disappearing forever. Sadly, we know that many larger lemur species have already become extinct."

“We need to ensure the species that do now remain on this diverse island are safe and protected. That’s why our conservationists have been engaged in protecting habitats and the unique species they are home to in Madagascar for over 10 years now. In 2015, the Malagasy government established The Mangabe New Protected Area, co-managed by our field partner Madagasikara Voakajy and the communities that live in Mangabe itself, providing a safe haven for nine species of lemur, as well as lots of other threatened species. We are fully involved in efforts to prevent their extinction.”

Male and female red-bellied lemurs can be distinguished as males have a white tear-drop shape around the eye with females lacking this. In their families the female is considered dominant.

Red-bellied Lemur Infant Chester

The new born red-bellied lemur clings to its mother at Chester Zoo

Photo Credit: Chester Zoo

Learn more about the Chester Zoo on their website – Chester Zoo

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