Here’s looking at you, kids

Three rare red-ruffed lemurs born at the National Zoo are bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.



Three six-day old red-ruffed lemurs

Three critically endangered red-ruffed lemurs were born at the National Zoo April 5. (Photo by Rachael Rufino, April 11, 2016)

Three rare red-ruffed lemurs were born April 5 to 6-year-old mother Molly at the National Zoo’s Small Mammals House. Native to the northeastern deciduous forests of Madagascar, red-ruffed lemurs are considered critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to deforestation, hunting and trapping for the pet trade. Molly has been bred with the Zoo’s 7-year-old red-ruffed lemur brothers, Coronado and Cortez, in accordance with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan.

Red-ruffed lemur females usually give birth to three young, although they can have up to six young in one litter. Unlike most primates who carry their offspring with them, red-ruffed lemurs typically leave their young in nests while they search for food. Animal care staff check the nest every day and have observed Molly nursing and carrying the babies, which appear to be healthy and strong. Zoo veterinarians will perform a complete physical exam on the lemurs and determine their sexes in the next few weeks.

Six day old red ruffed lemur

One of three critically endangered red-ruffed lemurs born at the National Zoo April 5. (Photo by Ashley West, April 11, 2016)

Posted: 22 April 2016
About the Author:

Alex di Giovanni has been editing The Torch since August 2006. Prior to joining the Smithsonian, she worked as a writer and editor for the National Geographic Society, Plexus Scientific, The Nature Conservancy, The National Foreign Language Center and St. Martin’s Press, among others. She has the best job in the world.