An infant named Vzhyk: ring-tailed lemurs in the Moscow Zoo produced offspring

July 21
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A ring-tailed lemur infant was born in the Moscow Zoo. These primates are endemic only to the island of Madagascar. As their name suggests, these lemurs (also known as catta) have a ringed tail and are known locally as maky. This species is listed in the International Red Book and classified as Critically Endangered.

“Every year a decline in the population of Madagascar lemurs is observed, that is why zoos around the world are striving to create a reserve population of the species in captivity, and the Moscow zoo is no exception. This year, our family of lemurs has grown again, Mira and Funtik gave birth to a baby. For the first six months, the infant will spend more time riding on Mom’s back. Since is a lot of burden to carry, sisters, daughters, and grandmother give help to the tired Mom. Occasionally, Funtik also takes care of the baby. All members of the group are friendly and curious about the infant,” said Svetlana Akulova, General Director of the Moscow Zoo.

Once he is off Mira’s back, the little lemur begins to explore on his own the territory and plays. Because of being so agile, this fidget was named by zoologist as Vzhyk (Whoosh). For now, the baby eats milk but also tastes the “adult” food. Ring-tailed lemurs have a very varied diet. It includes all kinds of fruits and vegetables, quail eggs, herbs, sunflower seeds, nuts, meat, locusts, and mineral supplements. The animals relish grass in young.

You can admire the growing Vzhyk by watching a short video on mos.ru. In the future, videos about his life will be posted on the Zoo's social media.

The ring-tailed lemur enclosure is located on the new territory of the Moscow Zoo, near the Primate House pavilion. The group consists of eight individuals (including the baby), where females call the shots. Infants born in the capital's zoo, are usually dispatched to one of the leading Russian or foreign zoos. Vzhyk is likely to move to a new place, where he can help create a reserve population.

In the wild, ring-tailed lemurs are found in south and southwest Madagascar. These are Madagascar indigenous primates: the fossil records of ancient maky showed that lemur-like primates evolved in Africa 60 million years ago. Ring-tailed lemurs inhabit tropical, deciduous, and mixed forests. The rare animals decline in numbers gradually due to habitat loss and poaching. According to zoologists, the total number of ring-tailed lemurs is approximately 10 thousand individuals, including the population in the wild that is believed to have dropped as low as 2,000.

The species name, catta, refers to the ring-tailed lemur's cat-like size and gait. These animals usually weigh between 2.5 and 3.5 kilograms. The hair on the back, paws, forehead is grayish brown, while the muzzle, chest, and ventral coat are white. The bright yellow eyes and black nose are encompassed by black typical patches that form an unusual “mask” on the animal's muzzle. Like dogs, lemurs also have wet noses.

Ring-tailed lemurs are unmistakable because of their long bushy tail, i.e. their trademark. True to their name, ring-tailed lemurs' tails are ringed with at least 10 alternating black and white bands, reaching more than half a meter in length and weighing one and a half kilograms. The primate uses its tail as a communication tool. For example, to entice female lemurs, males wave actively their tails near the gals to attract their attention. The tail also aids to keep balanced while jumping from tree to tree and serves as a cozy blanket at night.

The animals are active around the clock, and yet they are more accustomed to the nocturnal lifestyle. They avoid loneliness and prefer to gather in groups of 20 to 30 individuals. The lemur groups are strictly dominated hierarchies. It is the leader who determines the nature of the relationship between relatives. The females, as a rule, stay with the group where they were born, while the males often leave their fellows.

Ring-tailed lemurs are omnivorous. Lemurs consume a wide variety of food of both plant and animal origin, such as bananas, figs, berries, flowers, cacti, leaves and bark of trees, as well as eggs, insect larvae, spiders, grasshoppers, chameleons, and small birds.

Madagascar lemurs rarely live more than16 years, but in captivity, their life span can reach 30 years.

Makies often were heroes of all sorts of local legends: the natives called them ghosts wandering at night, respected and feared them. In recent years, after the release of cartoons on the widescreen, where restless animals took the lead, the species has become very popular among lovers of exotic pets. However, ring-tailed lemurs are wild animals that zoologists do not recommend to keep at home.

This summer, the Moscow Zoo also had a baby boom in wing-handed animals. Nile bats produced two pups (they are also called Egyptian flying dogs), four more young were born to other types of bats: three — to parti-coloured bats, one — to noctule bats. Most young pups are staying close to their mothers and eat milk, and learn to fly little by little. One parti-coloured bat quickly got stronger and became independent, consequently it was released into the wild.

Source: mos.ru

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