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Africa Alive! welcomes the birth of rare new lemurs, zebra and monkey

PUBLISHED: 16:54 18 July 2017

Africa Alive! welcome zebra foal Parsley. Photo: Africa Alive!

Africa Alive! welcome zebra foal Parsley. Photo: Africa Alive!

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In the space of three months, a zoo near Lowestoft has welcomed three births of rare, vulnerable and highly endangered animals.

The twin black lemurs were born at the zoo in April. Photo: Africa Alive!The twin black lemurs were born at the zoo in April. Photo: Africa Alive!

A chapman’s zebra foal, colobus monkey and a pair of twin black lemurs are the latest additions to the exotic animal family at Africa Alive! in Kessingland.

Arriving in April were the black lemurs who are listed as ‘vulnerable’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

A spokesman from the zoo said: “They are tiny and completely dependent on mum for the first two to three months of their life.

“They are only now just starting to venture off her and explore their island home.”

The new colobus monkey with proud parents Ebony and Bert.Photo: Africa Alive!The new colobus monkey with proud parents Ebony and Bert.Photo: Africa Alive!

Keepers have been unable to name the pair due to the difficulty in telling them apart. Males are born the same colour as females - later turning black, helping camouflage them when clinging to their mother’s fur.

With the number of mature black lemur’s on the decline, Africa Alive! say the pair are a “very welcome and important addition to the park.”

June saw the arrival of Parsley – a chapman’s zebra. Unlike the lemur twins zebra foals are quite precocious and are usually walking within 15 minutes of birth and running after an hour.

Born after a twelve month gestation period, foals will suckle from their mother for at least six months and can be found nibbling at grass after a few days.

Zebra foal, Parsley,  inside the Plains of Africa enclosure at Africa Alive!  Picture: Nick ButcherZebra foal, Parsley, inside the Plains of Africa enclosure at Africa Alive! Picture: Nick Butcher

Parsley will be fully independent in about a year. He can be seen along with the rest of the zebra heard, plus giraffe, rhino, antelope and ostriches at the zoo’s newly extended Plains of Africa enclosure.

Three days after the birth of the zebra, staff welcomed an addition to the park’s growing family of king colobus monkeys. This rare primate from the tropical rainforests of west and central Africa is considered to be highly endangered due to habitat destruction and hunting by humans.

A zoo spokesman said: “There are very few zoos within Europe that keep this species and none outside of Europe, so this is yet another important addition to the park and will play a crucial role in assisting with the European breeding programme for this species.”

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