A baby lemur has become the second of two babies born in recent months at Brandywine Zoo.
Zoo officials are not yet sure which sex the baby is or how much it weighs and will wait until the baby is older and can leave its mother to find out.
Mother and baby will not be on exhibit until sometime later in the fall.
The newborn Crowned lemur was born to Sophie and Kipp, who were paired after coming to the zoo in October 2020 as part of an Association of Zoos & Aquariums Species Survival Plan.
This is the second Species Survival Plan birth from a breeding pair at the zoo this summer. A Southern pudu fawn arrived in July.
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, which manages the zoo, called the Brandywine lemur’s birth a significant contribution to the Crowned lemur population in North America.
Its birth brings the number of Crowned lemurs in AZA institutions nationally to 35 and the new Delaware baby is the only one born this year.
Animals in the survival plan breeding programs are considered vulnerable species and optimally matched for genetic diversity to increase the population.
Kipp was born at the Duke Lemur Center in 2016, while Sophie was born at Zoo Atlanta in 2018.
Crowned lemur background
Crowned lemurs are an endangered species and their population is in declinel, DNREC said. They are threatened by deforestation and habitat loss caused by other land use conversion, such as charcoal production and mining for sapphires and gold; the illegal pet trade; and hunting for bushmeat, a DNREC press release said.
The Brandywine Zoo is one of 12 North American locations where Crowned lemurs can be viewed by the public.
Sophie and Kipp joined two other species of lemurs – the Black and White Ruffed and Ring-Tailed lemurs – and Radiated tortoises when the Brandywine Zoo’s Madagascar exhibit opened in 2020.
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That new exhibit is part of the xoo’s master plan, which focuses on improved animal welfare and guest experiences, species of conservation concern and the inclusion of more mixed species exhibits.
In addition to the Madagascar habitat, the master plan includes the already-completed condor viewing area, honeybee display and play area, goat barnyard experience and Animal Care Center.
A name for the baby lemur will be chosen soon.
Betsy Price is a Wilmington freelance writer who has 40 years of experience.
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