Oakland Zoo has a brand new resident: a rare blue-eyed lemur named “Dern.”
Blue-eyed lemurs are a rare species. Oakland Zoo is one of eleven zoos in the U.S. to have the species and acquired seventeen-year-old Dern on a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan.
Blue-eyed lemurs are found in Madagascar and are threatened by hunting, trapping and forest destruction. There are reportedly less than one thousand blue-eyed lemurs left in the wild.
Dern relocated to Oakland from the Cameron Park Zoo in Waco, TX.
Oakland Zoo’s zookeepers are crossing their fingers as they introduce current lemur resident Anthony to Dern. If efforts are successful, zookeepers estimate Dern will become pregnant during the winter months, when “lemur breeding season” occurs.
“We started introductions four weeks ago and they are going great,” said Margaret Rousser, Zoological Manager. “I’m surprised by how well they got along right away. However, we anticipate introductions with the ringtail lemurs, which coexist in the exhibit, to be the most difficult transition. The introduction process takes time, so we monitor the animals daily to make sure everything is going smoothly.”
The two blue-eyed lemurs live alongside four ringtail lemurs in the Wayne and Gladys Valley Children’s Zoo of Oakland Zoo.
Anthony and Dern at Oakland Zoo. Photograph by Erin Harrison, Oakland Zoo.