Denver Zoo welcomes four red ruffed (and endangered) (and effing cute!) lemurs
We here at Effing Adorable Animal Baby Headquarters just got a super-important dispatch from the Denver Zoo: four new red ruffed lemur babies! Though not as effing adorable as the zoo's four Amur tiger cubs -- who won the prestigious Best Denver Zoo Animal Babies award in our2011 Best of Denver contest -- the little lemurs are cute in the way that Gollum from Lord of the Rings is cute.
"We loves being born!"
The quadruplets (one boy, three girls) were born on March 12 to mom Sixpence and dad Mego, the zoo announces. The babies' names are Rusty, Bordeaux, Chianti and Mena. In our humble opinion, they constantly look like someone crept around the corner quietly and then shouted "Ha!"
More photos (and actual scientific facts, courtesy of the zoo) below:
This is the first litter for both Sixpence and Mego. Sixpence was among the infants born in the last litter at Denver Zoo in 1998. Mego came to Denver Zoo from the Duke Lemur Center in April 2008.
Sixpence and Mego were paired together at the recommendation of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP), which ensures healthy populations and genetic diversity among zoo animals. Fortunately, the couple has proved to be an excellent match.Though inexperienced, Sixpence has shown she is a very attentive mother and lets Mego know what he needs to be doing.
As their names indicate, red ruffed lemurs are almost entirely covered with red fur, except for their black faces, feet and tails and white patches on the back of their necks. Adults' bodies can grow to about three feet long, but their tails, which provide crucial balance in trees, can stretch more than three feet on their own.
They are thought to be called "ruffed" because of the tufts of fur around their necks. These resemble ruffs, or large, ruffled collars worn by European men and women in the late 1500s and early 1600s.
Exact red ruffed lemur population numbers in the wild aren't known, but the World Conservation Union (IUCN) classifies them as endangered. Their numbers are thought to be dwindling, mostly due to habitat destruction. Their range has been reduced to a small area in Northeastern Madagascar. There are 88 different species of lemurs that survive only on the island of Madagascar.