Baby joy for rescued ring-tailed lemurs

Casper the Baby Ring Tailed Lemur. Photo: Dave Townend
Casper the Baby Ring Tailed Lemur. Photo: Dave Townend

A pair of rescued ring tailed lemurs have given birth to a baby boy at Longleat Safari & Adventure Park.

Mum Hasina and dad Julien are part of a troop of the playful Madagascan primates which live in a walkthrough enclosure at the Wiltshire safari park.

Both were rescued as youngsters from unsuitable living conditions and given a new home at the park, although they still bear the scars of their ill treatment – Hasina has some of her fingertips missing and Julien only has half a tail.

The baby, which was born on June 9th, has been named ‘Casper’ after the cartoon ghost.

The name lemur itself derives from the Latin word ‘lemures’ which means ghost and probably came from their nocturnal habits, ghost-like appearance and mournful-sounding cries.

It’s relatively unusual for lemurs to have single babies as they more commonly give birth to twins.

Keeper Beverley Evans said: “Ring-tailed lemurs are one of the most endangered primates in the world due to a combination of habitat loss, degradation and hunting.

“Hasina is a brilliant mum and Casper will spend virtually all of his time for the next 12 weeks holding on tightly to her.

“After that she will encourage him to become more independent and start to fend for himself,” she added.

In the mornings the ring-tailed lemur sunbathes to warm itself. It faces the sun sitting in what is frequently described as a “sun-worshipping” posture or Lotus position.

Sunning is often a group activity, particularly during the cold mornings. At night, troops will split into sleeping parties huddling closely together to keep warm

The spacious Lemur Walkthrough enclosure is home to both ring tailed and brown lemurs and features extensive rope-swings and wooden walkways which provide the lemurs with the perfect opportunity to demonstrate their extraordinary agility and climbing skills.