Rare lemur ‘around the same weight as a banana’ born at Chester Zoo

Red-bellied lemur born at Chester Zoo
Red-bellied lemur born at Chester Zoo
PA Media

The birth of a rare red-bellied lemur at Chester Zoo is “real cause for celebration”, according to one of the zoo’s staff.

The new arrival was born six weeks ago, but – weighing an estimated 70 grams at birth – was so small it managed to hide in its mother’s fur.

Born to parents Aina and Frej, the fluffy lemur’s sex is currently unknown.

“The birth of any lemur is real cause for celebration as these primates are vulnerable to extinction in the wild and every new arrival is a vital addition to the endangered species breeding programme,” said Claire Parry, assistant team manager of primates at Chester Zoo

“This one, however, is extra special as it’s also the first baby red-bellied lemur ever to be born at Chester Zoo.

“Aina is a first-time mum who’s really taking motherhood in her stride – she’s very confident with her new addition.

“The baby is always seen clinging on tightly to her, which is exactly what we want to see, and this lovely little lemur looks incredibly content hidden in among mum’s warm fur.”

Undated Chester Zoo handout photo of one of their red-bellied lemurs with their new arrival, the first of the species to be born at the zoo. Issue date: Thursday May 20, 2021

Mike Jordan, director of animals and plants at the zoo, said: “With lemurs considered as being the most endangered group of mammals in the world by the IUCN every birth is significant.

Lemurs are endemic to Madagascar where they are severely under threat with over 94% of all lemur populations at risk of disappearing forever.

“Sadly, we know that many larger lemur species have already become extinct.

“We need to ensure the species that do now remain on this diverse island are safe and protected.”

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