Published: 18:52, 09 August 2021
| Updated: 19:37, 09 August 2021
Two endangered white-belted ruffed lemurs have been born at Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve.
The animal park near Hythe announced today that their latest arrivals were born on July 10, to mum Ikala and dad Mino, and were said to be "very vocal, hugely active and developing very fast."
First-time mum Ikala, who arrived at Port Lympne last year from Zoo Basel in Switzerland, is also said to be doing well and has been enormously attentive to the busy, wide-eyed youngsters.
Found exclusively on the island of Madagascar in lowland and mid-altitude rainforests, white-belted ruffed lemurs are highly social animals, living in female-dominated groups, and are among the world’s most endangered primates.
Habitat loss has led to an 80% reduction of their population in the last 21 years, and they are classified as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List, with their population decreasing every year.
Port Lympne’s Animal Director, Simon Jeffery, said: “Every birth we have here at the reserve is a special moment, but these newborns are important in keeping this particular species from becoming extinct.
“Ikala has been extremely protective of the duo, regularly taking them into the outer enclosure during the day to hide them in the long grass. It’s rewarding to see how well she’s taken to motherhood.”
Female white-belted ruffed lemurs will usually give birth to twins, but can have up to six babies, giving birth in a tree hollow and leaving their new-borns there while they forage for food.
They have a herbivorous diet of fruit and plants and are important pollinators, using their long snout and tongue to reach nectar hidden deep inside flowers.
Visitors can celebrate the arrival of this captivating pair by coming to see them up close.
Port Lympne Reserve works in conjunction with The Aspinall Foundation, which helps protect the Madagascan lemur population and their habitats through community-supported conservation projects.
Surveys carried out by the charity in 2009 doubled the number of locations where greater bamboo lemurs were known to occur, which led to the first-ever community-managed site in Madagascar designed specifically to protect the species. Consequently, the greater bamboo lemur was removed from the list of the 25 most endangered primates in the world, for the first time in a decade.