Press Release: 06/11/2014

ZooKeepers Pair Up Rare Lemurs for Breeding

Contact:
Nicky Mora, Senior Manager, Marketing/PR
(510) 632-9525 ext. 130
nmora@oaklandzoo.org


Oakland, CA…June 12, 2014 – Oakland Zoo’s zookeepers are crossing their fingers as they introduce current lemur resident “Anthony” to “Dern” a rare blue-eyed lemur who relocated to Oakland from the Cameron Park Zoo in Waco, TX. Blue-eyed lemurs are one of the twenty-five most endangered primates in the world. Currently, there are only twenty-eight lemurs of this kind living in captivity in the United States. Oakland Zoo is one of eleven zoos in the United States to have the species and acquired seventeen-year-old “Dern” on a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan (AZA/SSP).

If efforts are successful, zookeepers estimate the highly endangered lemur will become pregnant during the winter months, when “lemur breeding season” occurs. “We started introductions four weeks ago and they are going GREAT,” said Margaret Rousser, Zoological Manager. “I’m surprised by how well they got along right away. However, we anticipate introductions with the ringtail lemurs, which coexist in the exhibit, to be the most difficult transition. The introduction process takes time, so we monitor the animals daily to make sure everything is going smoothly.”

The two blue-eyed lemurs live alongside four ringtail lemurs in the Wayne and Gladys Valley Children’s Zoo of Oakland Zoo. Guests may watch the lemur couple from the exhibit’s viewing deck, located atop the Reptile and Amphibian House. Visitors may notice the two animals doing scent marking. This is a process where the small primates use a unique gland on the top of their heads to leave their scent throughout their habitat.

ABOUT BLUE-EYED LEMURS:
Blue-eyed lemurs are found in Madagascar and are severely threatened by hunting, trapping and forest destruction, particularly rosewood logging across their entire range. It is thought that there are probably less than one thousand individuals of this species left in the wild. Blue-eyed lemurs are consistently placed in the top ten of the most endangered varieties of lemurs. Efforts to breed this species in captivity began in the mid-1990s with the importation of four wild caught animals to the Duke Lemur Center.

ABOUT OAKLAND ZOO:

The Bay Area's award-winning Oakland Zoo is home to more than 660 native and exotic animals. The Zoo offers many educational programs and kid's activities perfect for science field trips, family day trips and exciting birthday parties. Oakland Zoo is dedicated to wildlife conservation onsite and worldwide. Nestled in the Oakland Hills, in 500-acre Knowland Park, the Zoo is located at 9777 Golf Links Road, off Highway 580. The East Bay Zoological Society (Oakland Zoo) is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization supported in part by members, contributions, the City of Oakland and the East Bay Regional Parks.


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