National Zoo celebrates birth of critically endangered lemurs

The Smithsonian National Zoo welcomes three critically endangered red-ruffed lemurs to its Small Mammal House.

WASHINGTON – It’s time to celebrate at the National Zoo: Three critically endangered red-ruffed lemurs were born at the Small Mammal House.

The zoo’s 6-year-old lemur named Molly gave birth to the primates on April 5 in accordance with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan, which recommended that she breed with the zoo’s 7-year-old red-ruffed lemur brothers Coronado and Cortez, according to a press release from the National Zoo.

In order to make sure they’re staying healthy, animal care staff at the zoo check the nest everyday. They say that Molly is nursing and carrying the babies, which is a good sign for their continued growth and overall health.

Veterinarians at the zoo will perform a complete physical exam and determine the sex of the lemurs in the next few weeks.

Want to see the newest members of the National Zoo? Although zoo keepers covered a portion of the glass enclosure with plastic to help the babies acclimate to their environment, visitors can take a gander at all three adult red-ruffed lemurs and catch a glimpse of the newborns in the Small Mammal House’s mixed-species exhibit.

The zoo says red-ruffed lemur females usually give birth to three babies in each litter, although they can have up to six. Red-ruffed lemurs, which are native to the northeastern deciduous forests of Madagascar, typically leave their young in nests while they search for food.

This species of lemur is considered critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to deforestation, hunting and trapping for the pet trade.

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