Cheshire’s world-renowned Chester Zoo recently announced that it has welcomed a new-born Coquerel’s sifaka to its gardens, which are dedicated to conservation.
Known colloquially as the “dancing lemur”, the species is registered as critically endangered, making the recent birth even greater cause for celebration.
The arrival of the endangered lemur gives Chester Zoo the distinction of being the first ever zoo in the whole of Europe to have successfully bred the species. The tiny creature was born to parents Elliot and Beatrice less than two years after they relocated to Chester from the USA. The move was an essential step to the launch of a brand new breeding programme set on protecting these critically endangered primates.
Weighing only 119 grams, the new-born entered the world with a thick, furry white coat and will now cling to his mother’s belly for many weeks before repositioning and riding her back until the age of six months. After that, the lemur will start to become independent, and it will only be at this point that the zoo’s conservation experts will be able to determine whether the lemur is male or female.
Distinguishable from other types of lemurs, sifakas move in a unique fashion. They can often be seen maintaining an upright posture using only their hind legs to spring from side to side across the floor, or make leaps of over 20 feet through the treetops in just one motion. It is this unusual mobility that has earned them the nickname “dancing lemurs.”