These are the first sifaka’s to be at the Maryland Zoo since 2021
The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, Maryland announced the 2 coquerel sifaka’s have arrived at their Zoo. The arrival of the new lemurs is the first time the Maryland Zoo has had the species since 2021. The new female is originally from the Mesker Park Zoo in Evansville, Indiana and the male was transferred from Duke Lemur Center.
“We’ve been working on getting sifaka back for almost 2 years,” said Margaret Rose-Innes, general curator at the Maryland Zoo.1 “We’re one of only a handful of accredited zoos to house sifaka and expect that we’ll breed this pair once we see how they get along and the male is a little more mature.”
According to the release,1 Sifaka’s have brown and white coloration and got their name based on their distinctive alarm call. They are separated from other lemurs because they move in a very upright posture, using their back legs to jump from tree to tree. When they are on the ground, they move sideways off their back feet to cover distance while holding onto their forelimbs to balance.
The coquerel’s sifaka are only native to Madagascar and spend most of their lives within the treetops located in 2 protected areas. They are currently on listed as an endangered species due to habitat loss with deforestation being the leading threat. Little is known about the declining size of the coquerel's sifaka habitats but it is believed their habitats decreasing in availability has led to a population decline of up to 50% within the last 50 years.2
If they choose to breed the two animals, all recommendations will come from the Sifaka Species Survival Plan and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.