Twin lemur pups from a species classified as critically endangered were born earlier this month at Happy Hollow Park & Zoo in San Jose, the zoo said in a release Tuesday.
Black-and-white ruffed lemurs Vintana, a 7-year-old female, and Nify, a 19-year-old male, welcomed the two newborn pups on April 16. The pair were recommended as parents by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan program because of their previous experience birthing pups, Happy Hollow said.
"The birth of any newborn animal at the Zoo is cause for celebration, but the birth of an endangered species is momentous," zoo General Manager Kiersten McCormick said in a statement.
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The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists black-and-white ruffed lemurs as critically endangered. In the wild, they are found only in Madagascar and face threats due to habitat loss and demand in the illegal exotic pet industry, the zoo said.
Vintana and the pups have been staying in an off-view den designed for quiet bonding, the zoo said, but Mom has been seen on occasion bringing the babies out to spend time in the main exhibit.
"Both pups are bright and alert and on track weight-wise for their age," Happy Hollow veterinary technician Rachel Atkins said.
The pups have yet to be named, and Happy Hollow will conduct a public naming contest in the weeks to come once the sexes are confirmed, a zoo spokesperson said.
The pandemic-modified walk-through zoo is open daily with health screenings upon entry, mandatory masks for ages 2 and up and ticket reservations.
The park's two play areas as well as eating areas are open for ticketholders, but the rides remain closed, officials said. Visit the park's website for the latest reopening updates.