Bristol Zoo Gardens’ new arrival

Posted: 10th January, 2019

A tiny lemur weighing only as much as an apple has been born at Bristol Zoo Gardens.

The rare Lake Alaotran gentle lemur arrived a few days ago and is thriving in the care of its mum, Alina. The birth is great news for the Zoo which has kept this Critically Endangered species since 1990.

Sarah Gedman, mammal team leader at Bristol Zoo Gardens, said: “It’s always exciting to welcome a newborn and Alina is proving to be a fantastic mother and is very attentive towards her vocal baby.

“We will be keeping an eye on the pair as they get to know one another. Mum is protective and will be keeping it close to her. “

Alina has already had two offspring - a daughter Antoka and son Maso - who are still in the family group.

Lake Alaotran gentle lemurs have a dark grey, dense, woolly coat with a chestnut muzzle and short ears. Their hands, feet and tail are used for grasping and balancing, which allows them to walk along the reed stalks in their lakeside habitat. They are graminivores, meaning they feed on a variety of marsh vegetation such as reed and grasses.

They are Critically Endangered in their native Madagascar because of habitat destruction and hunting for food and the pet trade. Marshlands around Lake Alaotra, where they are found, have been burnt so people can catch fish and provide areas to graze cattle.

Bristol Zoological Society is helping to build a new field station in Madagascar. The Ankarafa field station in the north-western Sahamalaza-Iles Radama National Park will provide a research base for conservationists and scientists who are working to help lemurs of which more than 90 per cent are threatened with extinction. People can make donations at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/ankarafaBZS.

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