JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) — Jackson Zoo has just gotten a little bigger.
On May 27th, zookeepers arrived at work in the early morning hours to discover two newborn males in the lemur night house.
The red ruffed lemur is listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature
The lemurs’ mom, Nekena, came to the Jackson Zoo in December from the Wildlife Safari in Winston, Oregon.
She joined father and son, Timmy and Phoenix, as part of the red ruffed lemur Species Survival Plan.
“The 2017 Breeding and Transfer Plan was published this past February. At that time we had 187 red ruffed lemurs in the Species Survival Plan®(SSP), where we recommended 18 males and 16 females for breeding,” said Christie Eddie, Red ruffed lemur SSP Coordinator at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo. “We are in the midst of birthing season, and these offspring are among birth reports from five SSP institutions. I expect more to come!”
Red ruffed lemurs are found only in a small area of Madagascar; they are the most endangered type of lemur in the world due to increased cyclones, illegal logging, and the illegal exotic pet trade, Jackson zoo officials said. According to the IUCN, there are only approximately 35 lemurs on average per square kilometer in their native habitat and declining rapidly.
“We are absolutely delighted to see these two little ones arrive, both for our park and the species as a whole,” said Jackson Zoo Executive Director, Beth Poff. “More than a third of the animals at the Jackson Zoo are either endangered or threatened and although every birth here is special to the staff, adding numbers to an endangered species is that much more precious.”