Cleveland Metroparks Zoo's Animal Care staff has had a busy summer! The expert keepers, animal curators and veterinary staff have been caring for a number of different babies including a giraffe calf, baby black howler monkey, two meerkat kits and the first ever crowned lemur baby born at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.
The crowned lemur (Eulemur coronatus) is an endangered species native to Madagascar. The baby lemur, which is yet to be named, was born on June 2 to mom Kesi and dad Azizi. The Zoo has exhibited crowned lemurs since 2010 but this was the first time two of them successfully reproduced. The Zoo exhibits several species of lemurs, including ring-tailed, red-ruffed and mongoose, all of which can be found in the Primate, Cat & Aquatics Building.
"The Zoo is especially excited about the birth of our crowned lemur," said Executive Zoo Director Chris Kuhar. "There are only 25 of these endangered species in six American zoos, so a new baby is certainly something to celebrate and not something you can see just anywhere."
The female Masai giraffe calf, recently named Adia, (Ah-dia) the Swahili word for "gift," was the 47th giraffe calf born at the Zoo since 1955. She was born on June 22 to first-time mom Jhasmin, and father Travis. Giraffes are native to the savannas of Africa south of the Sahara Desert. Masai giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi) are found in Kenya and Tanzania, near the Masai Mara National Reserve. Adia can be found in the Zoo's African Savanna area with the rest of the herd, including females Jada and Grace.
Meerkats (Suricata suricatta) are also native to southern Africa, including Angola, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. They live in family groups called "mobs," and the Zoo's mob was joined by two newborn meerkat kits on June 24. Kits are often hidden in the mob's tunnels in order to protect them from predators, but they can be seen occasionally as they explore their new home in the Zoo's African Elephant Crossing exhibit.
The Zoo's latest baby was born July 12 in the Primate, Cat & Aquatics Building to black howler monkey mom Springer and dad Dante. The baby, whose name and gender have yet to be determined, is on exhibit and doing well. Black howler monkeys (Alouatta caraya) are native to central South America, south of the Amazon River basin. Howler monkeys have enlarged lower jaws which accommodate egg-shaped resonating chambers that allow them to make the very loud, reverberating sounds which give them their name.
Maintaining a healthy and genetically diverse population of zoo animals is the goal of the various Species Survival Plans administered by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, the accrediting organization the Zoo belongs to. The Zoo participates in the SSP for Masai giraffes, black howler monkeys, crowned lemurs and meerkats, helping to ensure sustainable zoo populations for these and other animals.