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Florida zoo welcomes critically endangered lemur
The newest member is a blue-eyed black lemur, 1 of the few primates with blue eyes.
A blue-eyed black lemur—1 of the world’s most endangered primates—was recently born at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. Its gender is currently unknown.
According to an organizational release,1 this marks the second successful birth of a blue-eyed black lemur at this zoo. This baby is also the second infant of Hendricks and Hemsworth, 2 lemurs who arrived to Jacksonville in 2017.
“We have many reasons to celebrate this new infant. He or she will further enrich the social environment and experience of the Zoo’s amazing mixed-species lemur group and strengthen the sustainability of the Blue-eyed black lemur population,” said Tracy Fenn, assistant curator of mammals, in the release. “The Madagascar team is elated to see this infant thriving in the care of the mother.”
During this crucial developmental time, the infant will stay with its parents behind the scenes until it is old enough to safely join the rest of the group. The blue-eyed black lemurs reside in the African Forest, an exhibit that the zoo debuted in August 2018.
These animals are among the few primates with blue eyes. As infants, the blue-eyed black lemurs are a brown color that resembles their mother. However, they develop a darker color over time, the males being black and females a rusty-brown color.
Blue-eyed black lemurs are critically endangered, so each birth is essential to their longevity. Madagascar is the only place lemurs live in the wild, and their population decline is caused by a host of factors, such as habitat loss. It is predicted that there will be an 88% decrease in the population by 2080 due to just climate change, according to the release.1
“We’re fortunate to work in an environment that places great emphasis on education and conservation of wildlife and their habitats,” said Jeff Ettling, PhD, president and CEO of Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, in the release.
“We help our guests understand the threats these animals face and the role and potential benefits the species provide to the ecosystems they inhabit. We hope this will inspire action,” he continued.
Critically endangered lemur born at the zoo. News release. Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. March 29, 2022. Accessed April 4, 2022. https://assets.speakcdn.com/assets/2675/blue-eyed_black_lemur_birth_press_release_(1).pdf