Zoo guests now have the chance to meet the three young red ruffed lemurs born on May 24, 2016. Parents, Lyra and Dino, can be seen back on exhibit with their three babies. The four month old trio excitedly jumped through trees and played among the ropes as they explored their outdoor home. As of now, guests can see the lemur family on exhibit for part of the day. Once keepers feel comfortable and the lemurs have adapted to their new environment, Zoo guests will be able to see them on exhibit during regular Zoo hours (weather dependent).
(Below is the original blog posted 6/1/16)
Nashville Zoo is pleased to announce the birth of three red ruffed lemurs on Tuesday, May 24. The male and two females are the first lemurs to be born at Nashville Zoo since the Zoo moved to the Grassmere property in 1996. With the addition of the three babies, the Zoo is now home to five red ruffed lemurs. The babies weighed about 100 grams at birth and were 8-10 inches long (including their tail).
First time mom, Lyra, gave birth on her eighth birthday on May 24, 2016. This was the first breeding season Lyra and her mate, Dino have been together. Lyra is doing a wonderful job with her babies! She stays with them in the off exhibit nest and is constantly nursing and cleaning her babies. Dino, the father, has been doing a great job as well. He goes on exhibit for a few hours at a time, but returns to the night house and spends the rest of his time with the family.
Red ruffed lemurs can give birth to 6 offspring at a time, but 2-3 are more common. Unlike other primate species, red ruffed lemurs do not carry their young. Instead, they keep their young in a nest nursing and caring for them until they are more independent and mobile. Babies will nurse for 4 months before they are weaned.
Red ruffed lemurs are one of more than 100 species of lemurs on the island of Madagascar and are considered critically endangered in the wild. Populations are decreasing in the wild due to habitat loss, illegal hunting and pet trade.
Because red ruffed lemurs are critically endangered in the wild, these births are important in continuing the growth of the captive population so future generations will be able to learn about this species of primate. Nashville Zoo participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan (SSP) for this species to increase the captive population. The Zoo also contributes financially to SAVA Conservation which works on saving the species in the wild.
Because the babies are so small and Lyra keeps them in her nest, they cannot go on exhibit until they are more independent and mobile. Until the babies can go on exhibit, guests will be able to observe the red ruffed lemurs in their nest via closed- caption camera outside the current exhibit on Bamboo Trail.