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Mother’s Day is extra special with the birth of ring-tailed lemur twins

Lemurbaby (1)The staff at Franklin Park Zoo has double the reason to celebrate with the recent birth of ring-tailed lemur twins.

Nebuchadrezzer (Nebbie), a ring-tailed lemur, gave birth on May 4 inside Franklin Park Zoo’s Tropical Forest. Mom and babies, whose sexes are not yet known, can be seen on exhibit.

“As with any new births, we are closely monitoring the mother and babies. The babies appear bright and alert, and are holding on tightly to their mother,” said John Linehan, Zoo New England President and CEO. “We have an active group of lemurs and it will be great fun for guests to watch these twins grow up and observe the group dynamics.”

Lamurbaby2These births come as part of the Ring-tailed Lemur Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is a cooperative, inter-zoo program coordinated nationally through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Zoo New England is an active participant in this program. SSPs are designed to maintain genetically diverse and demographically stable captive populations of species. Including the twins, Franklin Park Zoo is home to 10 ring-tailed lemurs.

Ring-tailed lemurs are an endangered species native to Madagascar. This island off the southeast coast of Africa is the sole home of lemurs in the wild. Habitat destruction is the biggest threat to the survival of all lemur species.

Zoo New England has exhibited lemurs since the 1970s. Lemurs are noted for their wide-round eyes and their white and black, long banded tails. Ring-tailed lemurs are unusual in that they are active during the day. They inhabit dry brush, scrublands and closed canopy forests of Madagascar. These small primates are one of 22 species of lemurs, all of which share a common ancestry with Africa’s apes and monkeys. As prosimians, they retain more of the ancestral, one might say primitive, characteristics of primates.

Learn more about lemurs in Franklin Park Zoo's Animals section.

Photos courtesy of Erica Farrell