Baby on board

Sep 20, 2012

The sign says it all.   

You've got to look really closely, but it is amazing to see this tiny sifaka (SEE-fah-kah) clinging to its mother's chest.  The baby boy weighed just slightly more than three ounces when it was born September 3 to mother Wilhelmina and father Rinaldo at the Cincinnati Zoo.

The baby, which hasn't been named yet, will continue to cling to the front of its mother for the first few weeks, and eventually move onto her back for the next six months.  It'll take a year for it to reach full maturity. 

This is the first sifaka born at the zoo.  Mike Dulaney, the Zoo's Curator of Mammals, is thrilled.

"Just to get these animals is exciting enough, but then to know that we were asked to breed them and to have them breed sooner than we even expected," said Dulaney.  "Both these parents, this is the first-time offspring for them, so to bring them here and have them breed several months before their actual breeding season shows that we must be doing something right."

Sifakas are large lemurs, and rare. 

"Not only is this species a rarity at the Cincinnati Zoo, but with only 54 individuals in the world, at 10 U.S. zoos, this birth is rare and monumental for the species," said Thane Maynard, Executive Director of the Cincinnati Zoo.