Meet Belfast Zoo's latest arrival - a crowned sifaka named Latif
Belfast Zoo has welcomed a new addition - a crowned sifaka baby named Latif.
The endangered bundle of joy, which is a member of the lemur family, was born to mother, Linoa and father, Tilavo.
Latif arrived on March 30, but for the first few months the infant holds onto the mother’s stomach and for that reason keepers were not able to determine the sex.
Linoa has recently started to carry the infant on her back and this allowed keepers to determine that the arrival is a boy.
Linoa and Tilavo are one of the few breeding crowned sifaka pairs in Europe. Belfast Zoo was the first zoo in the UK and Ireland to breed this species in 2008.
Since becoming home to the species, five crowned sifakas have been successfully bred at the Cave Hill site and these offspring have moved to other zoos around the world as part of the European breeding programme for the species.
Crowned sifakas are found on the island of Madagascar.
Zoo curator, Julie Mansell, said: “The animals of Madagascar are facing increasing threats and the fragility of the future of the crowned sifaka is also highlighted by the fact that the infant mortality rate for the species is 80%.
"Caring for one of the few breeding pairs in Europe, we have a vital and active role to play in the conservation of the species.
"We work closely with our group of four crowned sifakas and carry out a daily training routine with these lemurs. This training includes a process of training Linoa to allow us to approach her stomach area and this is done throughout the year in anticipation of any young being born.
"This training is carried out with a small sifaka soft toy and, as Linoa is familiar with this process, she allows keepers to do the same training when a newborn arrives. This allows us to check on the newborn without any stress to the mum or the infant.
"The first few months are always an anxious time and, although we know that the statistics are against us, we are delighted with Litiff’s progress to date.”
Belfast Telegraph Digital