Black-and-white ruffed lemur pup


Crossing Borders for Conservation: First Critically Endangered Black-and-White Ruffed Lemur in 36 Years Born at the Zoo

May 11, 2023 | 3 minute read

11 MAY 2023 (Calgary, AB) – The Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo announced today the exciting news of a new addition to their conspiracy. On April 7th, resident four-year-old female black-and-white ruffed lemur, ‘Eny’ (pronounced EN-ee) gave birth to a pup. The pup’s father is eight-year-old, ‘Menabe’ (pronounced meh-NAH-bay). At just over one month old, the pup – whose sex has not yet been confirmed – appears bright-eyed, active and is moving around more each day. Eny is displaying all the appropriate lemur mom behaviours as she spends time bonding with the zoo’s newest addition.

Eny was paired with Menabe as part of a Species Survival Plan (SSP) breeding recommendation. Accredited zoos, like the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo, take part in SSP breeding programs, along with other accredited zoos and aquariums, to maximize the genetic diversity of the population in human care, appropriately manage the demographic distribution and support the long-term sustainability of a species at risk.

“When Menabe arrived here in 2017, the hunt for a suitable female began,” said Colleen Baird, Interim Associate Director of Animal Care and Welfare. “But because the zoo-managed North American population of black-and-white ruffed lemurs was fairly small with decreasing genetic diversity, we needed to broaden our search to infuse new genetics into the population.”

This mission to find an ideal mate for Menabe led the team all the way to an accredited zoo in the Czech Republic where Eny was residing. Following her arrival in Calgary in 2021, Eny and Menabe have since proven they are a good match – this is the first successful pup for the pair, and the first black-and-white ruffed lemur to be born at the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo since 1987.

“The successful birth of this newest addition is especially exciting and important for Eny and Menabe’s species,” said Dr. Typhenn Brichieri-Colombi, Conservation Research and Strategy Advisor at the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo. “With black-and-white ruffed lemurs being critically endangered in the wild, this pup already plays an important role in the survival and well-being of its species.”

Like all lemurs, black-and-white ruffed lemurs originate exclusively from the island of Madagascar, where there are fewer than 10,000 individuals estimated to be left in their native range on the island. A staggering 98% of lemurs in Madagascar are endangered, with over 30% facing the threat of imminent extinction. The black and white ruffed lemur is listed among the 25 most endangered primates in the world due largely to habitat loss and hunting.

The Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo has worked to protect three lemur species, including black-and-white ruffed lemurs, in Kianjavato, Madagascar since 2017. The collaborative program with the Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership and the University of Calgary engages local communities in reforestation activities, planting future habitats for lemurs while improving local livelihoods.

Eny, Menabe and the pup are not yet viewable to visitors as the new family unit continues to bond behind the scenes. The Animal Care, Health & Welfare team will take their cues from the family as to when they are ready to be in public view. Be sure to follow the zoo’s social media channels as they will announce when the pup is making its public debut. In the meantime, you can visit the rest of the zoo’s lemur troop by heading to Land of Lemurs on your next visit. The outdoor Land of Lemurs walkthrough will reopen to the public on Friday, May 19, 2023.

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For more information contact:
Alison Archambault
Director, Brand & Engagement
Phone: (403) 232-7766 | (403) 919-9482 |