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The three baby lemurs born last month. Fota Wildlife Park

Three critically endangered lemur babies born at Fota Wildlife Park

Less than 250 Black and white ruffed lemurs remain in the wild today.

FOTA WILDLIFE PARK has announced the birth of three critically endangered black and white ruffed lemur babies (Varecia variegatea) to 20-year-old mother Cloud and 10-year-old father Paraic.

The three baby lemurs, whose gender is still unknown, were born on 19 June after a gestation period of 102 days.

All lemurs are endemic to Madagascar and are now considered to be one of the most threatened mammal families on earth, with 79 of the 81 species considered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature to be in danger of extinction.

Fota Wildlife Park is home to three species of lemur, the Black and white ruffed lemur, Ring-tailed lemur, and Red-bellied lemur and take part in ex-situ breeding and management programmes (EEPs) for all three species.

Senior Ranger Cathriona Ni Scanaill said, “We are delighted with the birth of three new Black and white ruffed lemur babies. Having ongoing success with this critically endangered species indicates how happy and healthy these primates are at Fota.”

“Cloud is a very experienced mother who takes it all in her stride. The three youngsters so far seem very confident and active. Most days, they play in the tunnel leading onto their island habitat.”

_U9A1669 Fota Wildlife Park Fota Wildlife Park

Less than 250 Black and white ruffed lemurs remain in the wild today.

Ruffed lemurs are an unusual lemur species that display very primitive primate behaviour in that they build and give birth to their young in a nest.

The young are almost naked at birth and cannot cling to their mother, as in other primates.

The female will often carry the young in her mouth when moving them from one nest to another: however, the young reach maturity more quickly than other lemur species.

Ruffed lemurs are also the world’s largest pollinator.

When the ruffed lemur feeds on nectar, by sticking its long nose deep into the flower, the lemur’s snout becomes coated with pollen which is then transported to other flowers – making the animal a vital pollinator of the Traveller’s Palm tree in Madagascar.

More than 80% of all the flora and fauna in Madagascar can only be found on the island.

However, local wildlife is under threat from deforestation, hunting and illegal trade in wildlife.

Habitats in Madagascar are decreasing rapidly with 90% of native forest cover now lost.

In 2019, Fota Wildlife Park opened the Madagascan Village to highlight the plight of the Madagascan ecosystems and biodiversity that are under severe threat and to educate the public on the need for conservation globally.

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