Brandywine Zoo in Delaware welcomes baby crowned lemur to facility

by Danica Brendon

The Brandywine Zoo in Delaware has recently announced the birth of a baby crowned lemur, marking the second baby animal addition to the zoo this summer. This baby lemur is a significant contribution to the crowned lemur population in North America and brings the total number of crowned lemurs in Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) institutions nationally to 35.

The parents of the baby lemur, Sophie and Kipp, were brought together in 2020 as part of the AZA’s Species Survival Plan (SSP). An SSP is a conservation breeding program that focuses on increasing the population of vulnerable species in human care by ensuring optimal genetic diversity.

Sophie was born at Zoo Atlanta in 2018, while Kipp was born at the Duke Lemur Center in 2016. The Brandywine Zoo’s newest addition is the only crowned lemur baby born this year in North America.

Although the baby lemur and its mother, Sophie, are not currently on exhibit at the zoo, the zoo’s staff is closely monitoring them. Once the baby is old enough to venture away from its mother, its sex and weight will be determined. The zoo plans to introduce the baby and Sophie to the public in the future.

The announcement of the baby crowned lemur has generated excitement among zoo visitors and animal enthusiasts. Comments on the Brandywine Zoo’s Facebook post about the new addition show that people are already eager to meet the little one.

Crowned lemurs are endangered due to factors such as deforestation caused by agriculture, hunting for bushmeat, and the pet trade. The population of crowned lemurs is currently declining, and Madagascar’s challenging circumstances, including poverty and humanitarian issues, make wildlife conservation efforts difficult.

Lemurs, in general, are the most threatened group of mammals on the planet, with 95% of lemur species at risk of extinction. The Brandywine Zoo is one of only 12 locations in North America where crowned lemurs can be observed by the public.

In addition to the baby crowned lemur, the Brandywine Zoo has welcomed other new animals over the past few months. These include a female Hoffman’s two-toed sloth, two yearling binturongs (also known as Southeast Asian bearcats), and a Southern pudu fawn. All of these species have experienced population declines in the wild.

The Brandywine Zoo is located in Wilmington, Delaware, at 1001 N. Park Drive. It offers visitors the opportunity to observe and learn about various animal species while supporting conservation efforts.

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