CINCINNATI – The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is thrilled to announce the birth of a Sifaka (See-fah-kah) baby.  The male baby (whose name is yet to be determined) was born on November 16, to mother “Wilhelmina” and father “Rinaldo.”  Both parents arrived at the Cincinnati Zoo in April of 2011.  The parents were the first sifakas in the Zoo’s history and produced their first offspring, a male named “Bobby,” in September of 2012.  This is the pair’s second baby.

 “Not only is this species a rarity at the Cincinnati Zoo, but with roughly 56 individuals in captivity, all at only nine US zoos, any birth is rare and monumental for the species,” said Thane Maynard, Executive Director of the Cincinnati Zoo. “The family of four is now on display in their home in Jungle Trails and everyone is adjusting quite well to the new addition.”

Sifakas are a species of lemur that originate from the island of Madagascar. This rare animal has a history of being difficult to breed and care for in captivity. Baby sifakas are born one at a time and upon birth they are fully furred and have their eyes open. Babies cling to their mothers’ chest for the first few weeks, and eventually move on to clinging to her back, for roughly the next six months. It takes a year for sifakas to reach full maturity.

Staff at the Cincinnati Zoo have worked hard to develop a protocol for training mother lemurs to stretch out their bodies, prior to giving birth, so she will be tolerant of letting zookeepers approach and handle her babies once they are born. Zookeepers can then remove the baby from the mother’s stomach and weigh them for health records and well checks.