The Brandywine Zoo has two crowned lemurs: Kipp and Sophie. Kipp was born at the Duke Lemur Center on May 6, 2016. Sophie was born at Zoo Atlanta on April 28, 2018. They arrived in October 2020, and currently have a breeding recommendation from their conservation breeding program! While we can hope for baby crowned lemurs in the future, only time will tell if these two are a match!
Semi-deciduous dry lowland and mid-altitude forests, but are found in nearly all forest types as well as agricultural areas.
GEOGRAPHIC REGION AND RANGE
Endemic to Madagascar, found in the northern point of the island.
Fruits (80-90%), young leaves, flowers, and pollen.
Orange “crowned” patch on top of their heads. Males have brown-gray bodies, dark tails, gray faces, and black noses. Females are lighter with white bellies.
Up to 28 inches (63.5 cm), including tail
Average: 3-3.5 lbs (1.3-1.6 kg)
Wild: 15-20 years
Under Human Care: 27 years
They are threatened by deforestation caused by agriculture, mainly slash-and-burn farming, charcoal production, mining for sapphires and gold, and from hunting for bushmeat, and the pet trade. Madagascar is an extremely impoverished country with many humanitarian issues which make wildlife conservation a challenge unless these issues are also addressed.
1 or 2 infants are born at a time. Gestation lasts about 125 days (approx. 4 months).
• Diurnal – active from sunrise to sunset – but they often take a noon break that can last up to four hours.
• As frugivores and nectivores they are important in both seed dispersal and plant pollination.
Groups can have up to 15 individuals, but the average is 5 or 6. Large groups will split into smaller foraging subgroups of 2-4. Their home range is small and usually overlaps significantly with neighboring groups.
They communicate using scent glands, visual elements (body postures and facial expressions), vocalizations, and grooming to maintain social bonds.
Named because of the characteristic orange, crown shaped coloration on the top of their heads.
Lemurs have dental combs which is a built-in hair comb. Grooming is an important social bonding time!
Lemurs are the most threatened group of mammals on the planet. 95% of lemur species are at risk of extinction!
Lemur translates as “spirits of the dead” or even “evil spirits of the dead” and was picked because of the nocturnal activity and of the slender loris. The word became quickly transferred to all primates native to Madagascar.
What are AZA Zoos doing for Crowned Lemurs?
Their zoo population is managed through conservation breeding programs called Species Survival Plan programs, which ensures genetic diversity and species health. There are currently around 30 individuals at 11 AZA-accredited facilities. AZA zoos fund and participate in field research focusing on the ecology of lemurs in Madagascar, the health of wild populations, genetics, training local residents in lemur protection strategies, and partnering with conservation organizations.