The Sacramento Zoo’s pair of Critically Endangered Mongoose Lemurs, Catherina and Elmo, welcomed the birth of their fifth offspring the morning of April 13th. Older sisters, Abby and Camilla, born in 2015 and 2016, share the exhibit, learning important parenting skills from their mother.
Mongoose Lemurs carry their infants across their abdomen like a fanny pack until the infant is a little older and more mobile. Infants are born with the coloration of the female to aid in camouflage as it is being carried. The sex of the baby will not be known for a few months; its throat will stay white if it’s a female but will change to rust-brown if male. This species of lemur is monogamous and the typical group includes an adult pair and their offspring, usually one per year. Adults weigh just over 3 lbs.
Like other lemur species Mongoose Lemurs are found on the island of Madagascar. They are also found on the Comoro Islands just north of Madagascar after being introduced there by humans over 200 years ago. Mongoose Lemurs are Critically Endangered due to extreme forest fragmentation combined with forest destruction by slash-and-burn agriculture for cattle and charcoal production. On the Comoro Islands they are often hunted as agricultural pests.
The Sacramento Zoo participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Mongoose Lemur Species Survival Plans® (SSP). SSPs are cooperative breeding and conservation programs designed to maintain genetically viable populations of animals in human care, and to organize zoo and aquarium-based efforts to preserve the species in nature.