Endangered Ring-Tailed Lemurs Born

Endangered Ring-Tailed Lemurs born at Yorkshire Wildlife Park

Yorkshire Wildlife Park has welcomed two new arrivals into Lemur Woods – just two weeks after the troop of 13 ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) moved into their purpose built new house. Rangers were surprised when Humbug gave birth to the twins out in the reserve during the day on Sunday 2nd April.

“Humbug is an experienced mum and has had 11 babies previously here at the Park over the years. She has always previously given birth during the night, but obviously felt very comfortable and relaxed here in Lemur Woods. The babies are doing well – they cling on to their mum while she moves around and even jumps through the trees so it is quite an adventurous start to life!”Colin Northcott, Ranger

The troop of 15 lemurs includes father Tink. In the wild, a troop of ring-tailed lemurs would probably be around 7-18 strong. The Ring-tailed Lemur is found in Madagascar and is one of 110 species of lemur found on the island, which is the only location in the world where lemurs are found.

The ring-tailed lemur is considered to be one of the most intelligent of the lemur species. They are very active and curious and the babies will soon be up to mischief around the reserve. They are named because of their striking black and white ringed tail which they use to help balance when they are leaping through the tree tops and which they also use to communicate. The troop is led by a dominant female. They are very vocal and have one of the loudest voices in the animal kingdom, pro rata to their size (approximately 22” from head to tail). Ring-tailed lemurs spend more time on the ground than other lemur species, although they are remarkably agile climbers. They do love to sunbathe, and eat leaves, fruit and insects.

Lemurs are prosimians – a species before monkeys, and so man’s oldest relative. It is thought that the species are only found on Madagascar as the island broke away from Africa many millions of years ago and so they have evolved differently to primates.

All species of lemur are under threat of extinction in the wild, and in September 2016 the IUCN (the International Union for the Conservation of Nature) re- categorised the ring-tailed lemur as endangered in response to its declining numbers. The Yorkshire Wildlife Park Foundation (registered charity number 1152642) raises funds and supports important conservation work with lemurs through the AEECL (Association Europeenne pour l’Etude et la Conservation des Lemuriens) in Madagascar.

Ring- tailed lemurs are just one of many species at Yorkshire Wildlife Park, Doncaster, which is open daily from 10 – 6pm (last entry 5pm). Lemur Woods is a walk through reserve where the lemurs are free to come and go amongst the guests – just one of several reserves where guests walk amongst the animals which has earned the Park its name as the UK’s number one walk through wildlife adventure. YWP also has the only polar bears in England at Project Polar, tigers, giraffes, critically endangered Black Rhino and many other animals.