Fota Wildlife Park has announced the birth of two Black and White Ruffed lemur babies, born to mother ‘Cloud ‘who is seventeen years old and seven-year-old Fota-born dad ‘Paraic’.
The baby lemurs, who were born on April 27, are of a species which is native to the tropical forests of Eastern Madagascar.
The species has been classified as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to hunting and habitat loss and fragmentation.
“To have a successful birth of two healthy Black and White Ruffed lemur babies is very exciting both for us here at Fota Wildlife Park and for the conservation of the species," Lead Ranger Teresa Power said.
"In recent months the Rangers on the Primate Section knew that Cloud was likely to be pregnant, so we provided a number of nest boxes on her island which she has been busy lining with small twigs and leaves in preparation for giving birth.
“In Madagascar, Black and White Ruffed lemur mothers carry their babies in their mouths from one nest to another and then leave them there while they forage for food and Cloud has been doing exactly this in recent weeks. Black and White Ruffed lemur babies grow very fast and our pair are getting big enough now to hitch a ride on mum’s back so visitors to Fota Wildlife Park may be lucky enough to see the two new babies out and about, especially when when the weather is good.”
The Black and White Ruffed lemur is visually striking with dense black and white fur suited to the frequently wet and chilly forests of Madagascar. It is very closely related to the Red Ruffed Lemur and it is the largest lemur species and the largest animal pollinator in the world. The average adult weighs about 4 kilos and can live over 20 years. There are currently two species of lemurs at Fota Wildlife Park; the Black and White Ruffed lemurs and a group of Ring-tailed lemurs which are free-ranging and can be seen around the Wildlife Park at present.
The new arrivals will soon have a new home, as the park is currently constructing a Madagascan Village at the eastern end of Palm Walk park of which includes visitor experience and educational interactive hub. There will be two new animals house which will form indoor accommodation for the Black and White Ruffed lemurs, Ring-tailed Lemurs as well as other endangered species from the Island of Madagascar. It is anticipated that this Madagascan Village will open at the end of July 2019.
Fota is open daily from 10am, see http://www.fotawildlife.ie for more details.