Changing Planet

Rare primates born in New York zoo (photos)

Among the crop of this year’s spring newborns at New York’s Bronx Zoo were two rare primates: a mandrill and a Coquerel’s sifaka.

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Wildlife Conservation Society photo by Julie Larsen Maher

The sifaka is a special birth for the Bronx Zoo as there are only 51 sifaka in captivity worldwide, said the Wildlife Conservation Society, which operates the zoo. “This is the second baby of this species born at the zoo since the Madagascar! exhibit opened in 2008.”

Agile climbers and surprisingly strong jumpers, sifakas are a species of lemur and, like all lemurs, are found only in Madagascar, the zoo said in a statement. “Coquerel’s sifakas have thick white and maroon coats and can easily be identified by their yellow/orange eyes that stand out against their dark faces.”

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Wildlife Conservation Society photo by Julie Larsen Maher

Sifakas use a spectacular mode of locomotion as compared to other lemurs, the zoo added. “They maintain a distinctly vertical posture and leap through the trees using just the strength of their back legs. Their long, powerful legs can easily propel them distances of over 20 feet from tree to tree. On the ground, they use an elegant sideways gait.”

Last week the Bronx Zoo announced the spring season opening of the Congo Gorilla Forest exhibit and the first look at a new baby mandrill, Gertrude, with her mother and father, Louise and Mapema.

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Wildlife Conservation Society photo by Julie Larsen Maher

The past weekend also marked the start of the zoo’s Animal Tales Extravaganza. For 13 consecutive weekends, from April through July, there will be a full line-up of family-oriented readings, performances, and activities themed around new and classic children’s books. Children will be able to walk through larger-than-life pages of real books including The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle at Butterfly Garden and Alphabet by Matthew Van Fleet at Reptile House.

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Wildlife Conservation Society photo by Julie Larsen Maher 

Forty years in U.S., UK, and South African media gives David Braun global perspective and experience across multiple storytelling platforms. His coverage of science, nature, politics, and technology has been published/broadcast by the BBC, CNN, NPR, AP, UPI, National Geographic, TechWeb, De Telegraaf, Travel World, and Argus South African Newspapers. He has published two books and won several journalism awards. He has 120,000 followers on social media. David Braun edits the National Geographic Society blog, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society's mission and initiatives. He also directs the Society side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, awarded to Americans seeking the opportunity to spend nine months abroad, engaging local communities and sharing stories from the field with a global audience. Follow David on Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn

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