SINGAPORE: The Singapore Zoo recently welcomed the birth of twin red ruffed lemurs, a critically endangered species whose reproduction is known to be "notoriously difficult", the Wildlife Reserves Singapore said on Thursday (Jul 16).
This is the first time the red ruffled lemur has been born here since the birth of the twins' father Bosco more than a decade ago.
The twins were born on Feb 22 "while the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the world", said WRS.
The baby lemurs are now almost five months old and have begun to welcome visitors, following the zoo's reopening on Jul 6.
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The twin's mother is Minnie, an eight-year-old brought to Singapore in 2016 from Yokohama Zoo in Japan.
Her move to the country was planned and coordinated as part of an ex-situ conservation programme under the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria.
"The couple was specially matched because of their genetic compatibility ... as part of ongoing conservation breeding efforts between zoological institutions to protect wildlife and biodiversity," said WRS in a media release.
"Reproduction for these rust-coloured primates is notoriously difficult as they only breed once a year.
"On top of this, females are only fertile for one out of the few days they are sexually receptive, making this twin birth particularly special," WRS added.
Red ruffed lemurs are classified as critically endangered under the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species.
The main threats to them are habitat loss due to illegal logging and hunting. They live together as a family and so are often hunted in groups.
Native to northeastern Madagascar, the red ruffed lemur is a sister species to the black and white ruffed lemurs.
Even though the two species do not coexist in the same geographical range, they are able to understand each other’s calls and communicate.