The Lemur Conservation Foundation is delighted to announce the birth of a critically endangered red-ruffed lemur (Varecia rubra). This little boy was born on May 21 to parents Aviavy and Hazo.
While staff observed Aviavy in her nest boxes regularly for about a week leading up to the birth and were expectantly watching her nest box cameras every evening, this girl decided her boxes weren’t good enough and instead gave birth outside under a bush. Luckily, she also decided to do this during the work day, allowing staff to observe and monitor the birth. When Curator Caitlin decided it was safe to do so, both Avi and the infant were moved inside where they happily settled into one of the aforementioned nest boxes.
Unlike our other lemur species, red ruffed infants don’t cling to their mom. Instead, as females can give birth to litters of up to six infants, she makes a nest where her babies safely reside until they’re big enough to move around on their own. Ruffed lemur moms will spend 70-90% of their time in the nest for the first two weeks after giving birth! This nesting behavior allows our staff to more closely monitor red ruffed lemur infants including sexing the infant(s) and obtaining regular weights to closely monitor growth and development.
Aviavy and Hazo arrived at LCF in 2021 from the Naples Zoo on a recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Red Ruffed Lemur Species Survival Plan (SSP). This is the pair’s second birth, following the birth of triplet sons Chip, Pico, and Jalapeno at the Naples Zoo in 2019.
Red ruffed lemurs are listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN’s Red List with an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild in the immediate future. Every infant born at LCF increases the genetic safety net against extinction, and provides renewed hope for the survival of lemurs for generations to come.