Fota Wildlife Park has announced the birth of three critically endangered Black and white ruffed lemur babies (Varecia variegatea).
The three baby lemurs, whose gender is still unknown, were born on June 19 to 20-year-old mother Cloud and 10-year-old father Paraic.
Lemurs are now considered to be one of the most threatened mammal families on earth, with 79 of the 81 species considered 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 takes part in ex-situ breeding and management programmes (EEPs) for all three species.
Senior Ranger Cathriona Ni Scanaill said that Fota is 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.”
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 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.
Fota Wildlife Park is asking for the public's help naming the three new arrivals.
The public can enter individual name suggestions into a form on the blog at www.fotawildlife.ie/news and be in with a chance of winning one of three year-long Conservation Annual Passes.