BALTIMORE, MD — The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore is happy to welcome two ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) to the Zoo! This is a new species for the Zoo, which already has red ruffed lemurs (Varecia variegata rubra) and Coquerel’s sifaka (Propithecus verreauxi coquereli) on exhibit.
Ring-tailed lemurs Alexander, age 8, and Fern, age 6, recently arrived at the Zoo from Duke Lemur Center in Durham, North Carolina. They spent 30 days in quarantine, following normal protocols when moving new animals into the Zoo. “We are very excited to introduce this new lemur species to our visitors,” said Mike McClure, general curator at the Zoo. “These two lemurs are very active and very curious about their new surroundings. They are a great addition to the Zoo and I am sure they will become quite popular with our visitors.”
Similar in size to the Coquerel’s sifaka, ring-tailed lemurs stand about 18” tall and weigh between five and eight pounds. They are predominantly grey with black facial markings and a unique, long black-and-white banded tail. While they are tree-dwellers, ring-tails spend a good deal of time on the ground foraging for fruit. They also eat flowers, leaves, tree bark and sap. Like all lemur species, they are endangered in the wild largely due to habitat loss.
Alexander and Fern are now residing in a new outdoor enclosure near the red-ruffed lemurs and the Coquerel’s sifaka on what is now known as “Lemur Lane.” The new ring-tailed lemur exhibit was donated to the Zoo by recently retired Maryland Zoo Volunteer, Kris Bowling. Besides donating over 3,374 hours of her time since 1998, Ms. Bowling has provided capital funding in the past for a variety of items, including the “hot rock” in the lion exhibit where the lions like to relax in the winter months when the ground is cold.
“Kris has been generous to the Zoo in so many ways,” stated Don Hutchinson, president/CEO of The Maryland Zoo. “Her capital donations have been helpful not only to the animals, but have in turn made the keepers’ jobs easier. And of course, you can’t put a price tag on her fifteen years of service as a Volunteer here at the Zoo.”
Visitors can now see all three of the Zoo’s lemur species on Lemur Lane, between the Giraffe House and the Chimpanzee Forest.