Endangered Blue-Eyed Black Lemur Born In NC

Endangered Blue-Eyed Black Lemur Born In NC

6:00am May 23, 2018
Ranomasina, the blue-eyed black lemur, under a heat lamp at one hour old. Photo credit: Sara Clark
  • Ranomasina, the blue-eyed black lemur, under a heat lamp at one hour old. Photo credit: Sara Clark

  • Ranomasina with Velona - several hours old. Photo credit: Sara Clark

  • Ranomasina keeping warm under the heat lamp. Photo credit: Sara Clark

  • At one-month-old. Photo credit: David Haring

An endangered lemur has been born in North Carolina. It's the first time in over 20 years that there's been a birth by a lemur that came directly from Madagascar.  

Her name is Ranomasina, which is the Malagasy word for sea, and she’s a blue-eyed black lemur - one of the 25 most endangered primates in the world.

But her birth wasn't easy. Two weeks before her mother Velona was due, veterinarians discovered that the baby was in breech position.

Sara Clark is with Duke Lemur Center. She says cesarean sections are rare - only 15 have been done out of the 3,000 births that have taken place at the center since the 1960s. Plus, this lemur is a first-time mother.

“So Velona basically went to sleep and she woke up with a baby she’d never seen before," says Clark. "So we were very worried that she would not bond with the infant. And if a female lemur, particularly one of this species doesn’t bond with the infant, they’re very apt to hurt, or even kill it.”

Clark says they’ve helped the bonding process by teaching the infant how to nurse, which releases a helpful hormone. And she's happy to report that Velona makes a really good mom.

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