Dancing lemur: Chester Zoo breeds critically endangered Coquerel’s sifaka for the first time in Europe
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Chester Zoo has witnessed the first dancing lemur born in Europe, following a 130-day pregnancy. The critically endangered species entered the world on December 19 at a tiny 119g to proud parents Beatrice and Elliot.
The Coquerel’s sifaka - nicknamed dancing lemur from the way it swings on its hind legs - is a native species of North West Madagascar. The adorable creature typically hides in treetops but has faced a significant decline in the last 30 years due to manmade deforestation.
Labelled a “landmark moment for the species”, conservationists transferred Beatrice and Elliot from a US zoo in order to help save the breed from extinction. The critter is currently too tiny to explore on its own and seeks warm protection cosied up to its mum.
Mark Brayshaw, Curator of Mammals at Chester Zoo, said: “It’s really exciting to be the first team of conservationists in Europe to successfully breed this unusual and extremely rare primate. While it’s still early days, both mum and baby are doing great.”
“Beatrice is feeding her new arrival regularly and is keeping it nestled in her fur as she leaps from tree to tree," he adds. “In a few weeks’ time, the baby will graduate to riding on her back, before branching out and learning to climb trees independently at around six months old.”
“It won’t be long until this bright-eyed baby will be bouncing 20ft between tree to tree just like its parents,” Mark said. Adult Coquerel’s sifakas can grow to around 2ft in height.