Published: 15:12, 08 April 2021
| Updated: 16:12, 08 April 2021
Three adorable baby lemurs have been born at a Kent wildlife park.
The trio of white belted ruffed lemurs - two boys and a girl - were born on March 26 at Port Lympne, near Hythe.
Meet the new babies
They are being looked after by their first-time mum, who keepers say is being very attentive.
Head primate keeper Jamie Robertson said: "First time mum, was born here at Port Lympne Reserve and is doing amazingly well.
"She started building a nest the day before she gave birth and has been a very attentive mum.
"The two boys and a girl are very vocal and are developing very fast - it won’t be long until they are out of the nest and causing lots of mischief!"
White belted ruffed lemurs are suitably named after their appearance, with a white band around their waist and white ruffs around their faces. They are very social animals and live in female dominated groups.
They are seasonal breeders; females are in season for only around 15 days. They usually give birth to twins, but can have up to six babies.
They are also one of only a few species of primate that doesn’t carry its young. Instead, these lemurs will give birth in a tree hollow and leave them there while they forage for food.
When they are bigger the mum will carry them in her mouth to a new safe spot while she feeds and will continue to do this until the babies are big enough to follow her around.
Sadly, white belted ruffed lemurs are one of the world’s most endangered primates and are found exclusively on the island of Madagascar.
Due to habitat loss, these lemurs have faced an 80% reduction of their population in the last 21 years.
With their population dramatically declining every year they are classed as critically endangered.
Staff say the three new babies, as yet unnamed, are incredibly important in keeping the species from becoming extinct.
The Aspinall Foundation, which runs Port Lympne and its sister park Howletts, works with local communities in Madagascar to reforest and protect lemur habitats and has recently created six new community-managed conservation sites.
Including an existing site established in 2012, these seven sites cover 37,363 hectares, which is roughly 10% of the total area of Kent.
As well as the lemur species which are the main focus of the project, these new areas support the long-term conservation of several of the most unique and threatened species of vertebrates in the world including big headed turtles, fish eagles and flying foxes.
As well as the new lemurs, staff at the animal park have also welcomed two new lions, called Zulu and Wilma.
They were being housed at Borth Wild Animal Kingdom, which had struggled to find a new home for the pair.
They are now living in an enclosure which had been created in anticipation of three lions which had been rescued from circuses.
Port Lympne was ready to adopt the trio, but had to cancel the plans when they were diagnosed with feline calicivirus.
It meant it was too risky to bring them to Port Lympne as the highly infectious virus causes respiratory symptoms and could have been passed on to the animals already living at the reserve.
Port Lympne is also expecting six brown bears in the coming months, three adults and three babies.
Both Port Lympne and Howletts will welcome back visitors from Monday, April 12.