Twin white-belted ruffed lemurs have been born at Wild Place Project.
The six-week-old baby boys are now growing in confidence and are beginning to explore their leafy enclosure under the watchful of eye of parents, Ihosy and Hebus.
The twins’ birth is of huge significance to the species which has been categorised as critically endangered and has suffered an 80 per cent decline in numbers over the last 20 years.
This species of lemur has undergone a population decline of 80 per cent in just over 21 years. The IUCN now considers the black and white-belted ruffed lemur to be at very high risk of extinction in the wild.
The main threats to the species in the wild are habitat loss due to slash-and-burn and commercial agriculture, logging, and mining, as well as hunting for fur and meat and trapped for the illegal pet trade.
As well as being an important boost for the captive breeding programme, the youngster’s births are a success story for his parents.
Will Walker, animal manager at Wild Place Project, said: “Ihosy and Hebus arrived at Wild Place Project from France in 2014 as a new breeding pair. As this species is so endangered we had high hopes that they would bond and breed, and we are thrilled with the arrival of these twins.”
He added: “Unlike other lemur species, white-belted ruffed lemurs do not carry their young on their backs. Instead, parents hide them nests.
“They are still small and have not yet been named, but are becoming increasingly confident and playful and starting to learn how to climb trees.”
Animal keeper Zoe Greenhill, who looks after the lemurs, said: “They are moving around now although mum still picks them up in her mouth and carries them around.”
Zoe said in another six weeks or so the baby lemurs will be independent and will be eating solid foods.
The lemurs live in Discover Madagascar, a walk-through enclosure that allows visitors to get up-close to animals in a barrier-free environment. It is also home to three other lemur species - mongoose lemurs, Alaotran gentle lemurs and red-bellied lemurs – as well as African pygmy goats.
Visitors can get up-close to the lemurs in their walk-through enclosure between 10.30am and 3.30pm daily.
Wild Place Project is a family attraction that provides outdoor adventure, play and learning. Visitors can meet amazing animals from across the world from cheetahs, wolves and zebra, to okapi, red-river hogs and eland.
The white-belted ruffed lemur family live in a purpose-built house, designed and created in partnership with Redrow Homes.