Two critically endangered Black and White Ruffed lemur babies have been born at Fota Wildlife Park in Cork on April 27 to mother 'Cloud', who is 17-years-old, and father Paraic, who is seven-years-old.
The species is native to the tropical forests of Eastern Madagascar and has been classified as critically endangered by the international Union for Conservation of Nature due to habitat loss and hunting.
Lead ranger Teresa Power said the births are exciting for both the park and the species: "In recent months the Rangers on the Primate Section knew that Cloud was likely to be pregnant, so we provided a number of nest boxes on her island which she has been busy lining with small twigs and leaves in preparation for giving birth.
“In Madagascar, Black and White Ruffed lemur mothers carry their babies in their mouths from one nest to another and then leave them there while they forage for food and Cloud has been doing exactly this in recent weeks.
"Black and White Ruffed lemur babies grow very fast and our pair are getting big enough now to hitch a ride on mum’s back so visitors to Fota Wildlife Park may be lucky enough to see the two new babies out and about, especially when when the weather is good.”
The baby is one of two species of lemur at Fota, the second being a group of Ring-tailed lemurs which are free-ranging at the park.
Fota is currently constructing a Madagascan Village which will include an educational interactive hub and visitor experience centre, which it hopes to open towards the end of July.