First Sifaka Birth for Cincinnati Zoo!

Posted September 20, 2012

CINCINNATI – The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is thrilled to announce the birth of its first Sifaka (SEE-fah-kah) baby.  The baby boy was born on September 3 to mother “Wilhelmina” and father “Rinaldo” who arrived at the Cincinnati Zoo in April of 2011.  The parents were the first sifaka’s in the Zoo’s history.

“Not only is this species a rarity at the Cincinnati Zoo, but with only 54 individuals in zoos in the world, all at 10 US zoos, this birth is rare and monumental for the species,” said Thane Maynard, Executive Director of the Cincinnati Zoo. “The family of three is now on display in their home in Jungle Trails and everyone is adjusting quite well to the new arrival.”

Baby sifakas are born one at a time. Upon birth, they are fully furred and have their eyes open. Babies remain clinging 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.

Sifakas are large lemurs built for a specialized type of locomotion called vertical clinging and leaping. Maintaining an upright posture, they use their powerful legs to jump from tree to tree. Active by day, sifakas sleep in small groups high up in the treetops to avoid predators at night.