KEEPERS at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo have welcomed the first newborn of 2017: a red-bellied lemur born to parents Gizmo and Bart in January who is doing well.
The youngster spent the first few weeks being carried constantly by its mother, but now that it’s getting a bit older it has become easier to spot as it jumps and swings around and plays with its older siblings, albeit never wandering far from mum.
Lorna Hughes, Primate Team Leader at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo, said: “We’re delighted to welcome the first baby of the year at the Zoo. The youngster hasn’t been named yet but is doing very well and can be seen clinging to its mum’s back. The newborn is the fifth red-bellied lemur to be born at the Zoo and will play an important role in the conservation of this vulnerable species through the European Endangered Species Programme.”
The baby red-bellied lemur will spend the first five weeks being carried on its parents’ backs before it becomes more independent and starts to explore its surroundings, whilst staying close to mum and dad. The red-bellied lemur family at the Zoo is a close knit one, comprising of mum Gizmo, dad Bart and their three previous offspring. Visitors can spot the youngster in the Monkey House at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo.
Listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List, the red-bellied lemur is threatened as a result of habitat loss in their native Madagascar. Large areas of forest have been cleared out for logging and agricultural purposes, destroying the homes of the native lemur families. Hunting also poses a significant threat to this species.