Significant Primate Births at the Toledo Zoo

Posted Apr 26th, 2016 by Andi Norman  Category: Community Interest, General Interests, Toledo.com


TOLEDO, Ohio — Spring has sprung at the Toledo Zoo and primate babies abound!
Nine year old, ring-tailed lemur twins, Fresca and Fanta, gave birth to offspring just days apart. Fresca gave birth to twins on March 24 and then Fanta gave birth to a single offspring on April 1. All three are in good health, nursing well and becoming more active. The father of all three is Mox. As the juveniles are still bonding with their mothers, the genders have not yet been determined. Names will be determined by staff at a later date.

Ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) are a primate species native only to the dry forests of southern Madagascar and the surrounding islands. They are easily recognized by their long, black and white striped tails and piercing eyes. These social animals live in female dominated groups called troops and huddle together in “lemur balls” to stay warm and maintain social bonds. Because of habitat destruction, hunting, the pet trade and population segmenting ring-tailed lemurs are listed as an endangered species.

The mongoose lemur family also recently increased in size. Olivia and Silvio became first-time parents on March 25 with the birth of a healthy 70 gram (less than a quarter of a pound) infant. Primate keepers took care of the offspring for a day while the first-time mother got used to her new situation and duties, but since then the entire family has bonded is doing well.

Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) coordinator for Mongoose lemurs, Gina Ferrie, said: “With only 65 mongoose lemurs in AZA zoos, every birth is significant to growing the population of this critically endangered and somewhat unknown lemur. The Toledo Zoo readily accepted the challenge of adding these feisty lemurs to their Primate Forest and quickly learned the behavior differences from their laid-back relatives, the ring-tailed lemurs. Toledo is now one of only a few AZA zoos working to actively breed and we (the SSP) are thrilled when our recommendations, particularly for new, young parents, are successful.”

Mongoose lemurs (Eulemur mongoz) are native to dry deciduous forests in northwestern Madagascar and eat fruit, flowers and nectar. They live as a small family with a monogamous pair and offspring. Male mongoose lemurs have gray or brown coats with a brown band of fur around their shoulders and neck and a brown beard, while females are lighter gray in color with dark gray faces and white necks. Mongoose lemurs are listed as critically endangered due to being hunted for food and their habitat destroyed for slash and burn agriculture.

Dr. Randi Meyerson, assistant director of animal programs at Toledo Zoo, said: “We are very proud of our staff for helping to facilitate very successful breeding programs for both lemur species. The new births speak volumes about the quality of our animal care and the trust that the SSP programs have in us to provide such genetically valuable and compatible animals.”

Beginning, April 22, 2016, visitors can see all of the new primates on exhibit in the indoor viewing rooms of Primate Forest.

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Andi Norman - The Toledo Zoo

andi.norman@toledozoo.org | 419-385-5721 ext. 2098 No Comments »

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