Endangered Lemur Born at Maryland Zoo

Baby lemur

Baby sifaka at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. Photo by Jeffrey F. Bill.

A little Coquerel’s sifaka (pronounced CAH-ker-rells she-FAHK — it’s a species of lemur) was born at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore on March 30. The newborn, named Max, resembled a tiny gremlin when born, with a bald black face, round yellow eyes, and pointy ears.  Now, the white fur has grown in, and Max resembles his parents, Ana and Gratian.

Coquerel's sifaka

For the first month, baby Coquerel’s sifaka ride on their mother’s bellies, and then transition to riding on their mother’s backs. Carey Ricciardone, mammal collection and conservation manager at the Maryland Zoo said of Max: “By the end of April, he will begin to sample solid food and crawl on Ana’s back periodically and he should begin to venture a few feet away from her by six to eight weeks of age.”

In the wild, Coquerel’s sifaka live solely on the island of Madagascar, which is off the southeastern coast of Africa. They spend most of their lives in the treetops in two protected areas in the sparse dry, deciduous forests on the northwestern side of the island. As with many species of lemur, Coquerel’s sifaka are endangered, threatened by deforestation.

Sifaka have a very interesting way of moving on land. Here’s a video of some of them leaping!

For more information and photos of the baby sifaka, see the Maryland Zoo at Baltimore’s website.

Baby Lemur Born at Maryland Zoo

The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore welcomed a male baby Coquerel’s sifaka on November 12 and named him Nero. At birth, the baby lemur weighed 94 grams, about the weight of a deck of cards. According to Meredith Wagoner, mammal collection and conservation manager, “Sifaka are born with sparse hair and resemble tiny gremlins, however their white hair soon grows in, and they begin to resemble their parents.”

In the wild, Coquerel’s sifaka inhabit the island of Madagascar. They are endangered as a result of habitat loss from deforestation. Sifaka are different from other lemurs in the way they hop through treetops in an upright posture using only their hind legs. They propel themselves on the ground by side-hopping on their hind legs.

To learn more, see the Maryland Zoo website.

Wily Prairie Dogs Escape from New Exhibit

Prairie dogs at Maryland Zoo

Yesterday, the Maryland Zoo opened its new $500,000 prairie dog habitat.  Unfortunately, within ten minutes, several prairie dogs tested the limits of their new home and found multiple escape routes.  Climbing and jumping over the walls, the prairie dogs had zoo workers in a frenzy chasing after them with nets.

In the end, all the prairie dogs were returned and the enclosure was secured.

For more info, see: Baltimore Sun

To learn more about prairie dogs and their interesting behavior, see Animal Fact Guide’s article about Black-tailed Prairie Dogs.

500-pound Polar Bear Undergoes Root Canal

At the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, Anoki, a 12-year-old polar bear had a dental infection that had the potential to spread to her organs. So veterinary dental surgeon Dr. Ira R. Luskin donated his time to perform a root canal on the 500-pound patient.

For more info: Baltimore Sun