Zoo celebrates birth of blue-eyed black lemur, one of world’s most endangered primates

It’s always an exciting day at a zoo when a new baby animal is born. But it’s even better when the newborn is part of an endangered species. Each new birth is a big step towards saving an at-risk species from extinction.

Now, one Florida zoo has “many reasons to celebrate” after welcoming an adorable and critically endangered baby lemur.

The baby blue-eyed black lemur, one of the world’s most endangered primates, was recently born at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens to parents Hendricks and Hemsworth.

The baby lemur is quite adorable. The species is one of the few primates with blue eyes, giving the baby quite a striking and unique look.

While a cute baby animal is always exciting in itself, the birth of this blue-eyed black lemur is especially important because the species is critically endangered.

“Every birth of this species is critical to their long-term sustainability,” the zoo wrote on Facebook.

The explain that the species has suffered from population decline caused by habitat loss. They are only found in Madagascar. According to the zoo it is estimated that there will be an 88% reduction in the population by 2080 due to climate change.

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“We have many reasons to celebrate this new infant. He or she will further enrich the social environment and experience of the Zoo’s amazing mixed-species lemur group and strengthen the sustainability of the Blue-eyed black lemur population,” Tracy Fenn, Assistant Curator of Mammals, told The Florida Times-Union. “The Madagascar team is elated to see this infant thriving in the care of the mother.”

The baby’s gender isn’t known yet: zookeepers are keeping some distance to allow quality time between the baby and mother.

The zoo says the baby will stay behind the scenes with its parents for now, “until it is old enough to safely join the rest of the group.”

“The infant is doing well and is still dependent on its mother,” Fenn said. “The Madagascar team is hoping to know the gender of the infant in the next few weeks and are giving the mother and infant space during this critical time of development.”

Eventually the lemur will be available for viewing by the public, and the zoo hopes the adorable animal will help inspire action to save this critically endangered species.

“We’re fortunate to work in an environment that places great emphasis on education and conservation of wildlife and their habitats,” said Dr. Jeff Ettling, the president and CEO of Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens.

“We help our guests understand the threats these animals face, and the role and potential benefits the species provide to the ecosystems they inhabit. We hope this will inspire action.”

Male Blue-eyed black lemur or Scatler’s lemur (Eulemur flavifrons), Lemuridae, Madagascar.

What a beautiful baby lemur. This little one is going to go a long way in helping to save this critically endangered species. Welcome to the world!

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