31 December 2018

Lemurs, meerkats and zebra foal among bevy of babies born at Canberra zoo

| Glynis Quinlan
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The birth of four ruffed lemurs has further significance as they are part of a critically endangered species. All photos supplied by the National Zoo & Aquarium.

Canberra’s zoo is full of new life with a bevy of babies born there recently, including four ruffed lemurs, four meerkats and one zebra foal.

The cuteness factor has gone through the roof at the National Zoo & Aquarium as the youngsters mimic their parents and indulge in a host of playful antics.

The birth of the four ruffed lemurs has further significance as they are part of a critically endangered species which has declined by 90 per cent in the past three years alone.

The four baby ruffed lemurs were born on October 12 and are now ready to be on display. They have been named after National Parks in Madagascar – Mari, Mahery, Maso and Mazao.

The zoo’s team leader of primates, Rachael Thomas, said the breeding program for ruffed lemurs at the zoo began in 2016 and that over the past three years 12 babies have been born to dad Polo and mum Masina – five in 2016, two in 2017 and four this year.

The four babies have already captured Rachael’s heart and she talks about scratching them around the face and under the arms.

“They kind of melt to the floor,” said Rachael. “They’re very cute.”

According to Rachael, the ruffed lemurs can also be mischievous and are very curious about their surroundings. They also have some interesting characteristics.

“They have different coat patterns and colouring,” Rachael said.

“One of the boys has white eyebrows. Another was born with green eyes and the rest have amber eyes.”

Below is a video of the baby ruffed lemurs supplied by the National Zoo & Aquarium.

The four new meerkat pups are six weeks old and were born just three months after their older siblings – who were born on August 21.

Meerkats are a big favourite with visitors to the zoo and the new babies are a delight to watch as they learn how to perform sentry duty and keep balance, as well as how to eat solid food.

The zebra foal was born on the evening of December 2 and is the son of Tambo (father) and Kike (mother).

From the day he was born, the zebra foal has appeared very confident and strongly interested in both people and his Barbary Sheep neighbours.

The foal loves to trot around the enclosure and has already attempted to eat hay like the rest of the herd.

The National Zoo & Aquarium is open every day of the year except Christmas Day. To find out more visit https://nationalzoo.com.au/

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