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Press Release


April 23, 2018

Today Dane County’s Henry Vilas Zoo announced the birth of new black-and-white ruffed lemurs in the Primate House at Henry Vilas Zoo. A total of 5 babies were born to first time moms Andapa and Morombe. Primate keepers have worked with both females to monitor their pregnancy through training voluntary palpations and weight checks. The babies will be named in the coming weeks.

“These little babies are adorable and a great addition to the Henry Vilas Zoo,” said Dane County Executive Parisi. “Our zoo continues to help critically engaged animals while teaching kids about the importance of animals and conservation.”

Both Moms are doing a fantastic job caring for their young, who are growing stronger and more mobile every day. Like other lemur species, it’s the females who are in charge, and so both moms will let dad Tanjaka know the limits as the group is reintroduced back together.

Ruffed lemurs are critically endangered in the wild, as their home in Madagascar is losing habitat to deforestation and human encroachment. Along with other Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited facilities, Henry Vilas Zoo is doing its part to help by participating in the ruffed lemur Species Survival Plan (SSP). In fact in 2017, out of twenty-nine pairs that were recommended to breed by the SSP, only five had offspring, making Andapa and Morombe’s new babies especially important to the population.

“It’s due to the dedication and expertise of our animal and vet care staff that we have had such a successful outcome,” said Executive Zoo Director, Ronda Schwetz. “I couldn’t be more proud of our amazing team and how they continually raise the bar on animal welfare and care excellence!”

The families will have access to the nest boxes off exhibit to provide them an option of privacy. As the group becomes more comfortable, guests will have opportunities to see them exploring their exhibit in the Primate House between 10am and 4pm daily.