"In these unsettling times, the arrival of such endangered babies really does help to raise a smile," said a zoo staff member

By Benjamin VanHoose
March 24, 2020 02:38 PM
Courtesy Chester Zoo

These twin lemurs are doubling down on adorability!

On Tuesday, the U.K.’s Chester Zoo announced the birth of twin ring-tailed lemurs to mom and dad, Fiona and Dog. At just under 6 inches, the tiny newborns are rare and welcomed additions to a species considered highly endangered.

Mike Jordan, director of animals and plant collections at Chester Zoo, said in a press release that he’s “absolutely thrilled” by the new arrivals since ring-tailed lemurs are one of the “highest primate conservation priorities.”

“It’s sad to consider just how endangered they have become but the birth of these twins gives a timely boost to the international conservation breeding program for these fantastically charismatic animals,” said Jordan. “We hope these new arrivals also help to inspire a wider awareness of Madagascar’s urgent conservation crisis and the work we’re doing on the island to assist local conservation teams and communities in protecting vital habitats and the species living in them.”

The zoo — which described the small not-yet-named babies as “tennis balls with tails” — is home to more than 500 species, many of which are endangered. Zookeepers say the lemur little ones are clinging close to their mom.

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Courtesy Chester Zoo
Courtesy Chester Zoo

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Courtesy Chester Zoo

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“Wonderfully, youngsters are born just like miniature adults and already have all of their fur markings, including their iconic black and white tails which they use to help identify one another,” said Jordan. “At the moment, they’re staying close to mum but it’ll only be a matter of weeks before they start to branch out and climb independently — then they’ll be a real handful for the whole group.”

Jordan added that the birth is made even more special coming during the coronavirus pandemic and the uncertainties that come with it.

“In these unsettling times,” he said, “the arrival of such endangered babies really does help to raise a smile.”