Sparsholt celebrates birth of endangered Black Lemur baby

Sparsholt College and University Centre Sparsholt has announced the birth of an Endangered Black Lemur baby at the on-campus zoo licenced Animal management Centre.

Born on 19 May, the initial signs are that the baby male is healthy and is growing in strength, holding on to its mother and keeping warm by hiding in her fur. While he continues to grow in size and confidence, the Animal Technicians and students at Sparsholt will be keeping a watchful eye to monitor the health and welfare of both the newborn and the mother.

Typically, Black Lemurs are pregnant for around 130 days, and when born weigh approximately 70 grams – about as heavy as a duck egg. Although named Black lemurs, it is only the male counterparts that grow black fur, whilst the female lemurs will have a furry coat of lighter brown.

Calvin Allen, Animal Management Centre Manager at Sparsholt College, said: “Our Black Lemur group are part of a managed European Breeding Programme so it’s fantastic news that we can contribute with the arrival of a new young male. Our lemurs are also having a significant enclosure upgrade over the coming months so the arrival of the new baby has been quite timely! The new enclosure will offer significantly more space and complexity, and will be a fantastic practical training resource for our learners”.

The baby lemur’s birth has been celebrated at the College as an exciting step forward in the conservation of this primate, found as a native only on the island of Madagascar.

Lemurs are considered one of the most endangered primates on the planet, with 94% of all lemur populations at risk of becoming extinct. There are over 100 different species of lemur still found in the wild, but all are under threat due to the impact of deforestation.

Sparsholt’s BIAZA licenced Animal Management Centre is home to over 1200 animals from across 200 different species, with which Animal and Zoo Management students on courses all the way up to postgraduate level can gain direct, close up experience. Students learn key aspects of caring for a wide range of the animals, including welfare, husbandry, handling and behaviour habits.

A recent £2.5 million Animal Health and Welfare Research Centre has just finished development on Sparsholt’s 450-acre countryside campus, facilitating advanced welfare practices and digital technology to add to the range of techniques, skills and industry know-how of our students.

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