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Trio of babies at zoo are big news for endangered species

PUBLISHED: 12:39 21 June 2019 | UPDATED: 13:06 21 June 2019

One of the black and white ruffed lemur twins born at Africa Alive!, the species is critically endangered in the wild  Photo  Africa Alive!

One of the black and white ruffed lemur twins born at Africa Alive!, the species is critically endangered in the wild Photo Africa Alive!

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Double Delight! A big welcome to rare babies born at Africa Alive!

The baby Somali wild ass, born at Africa Alive! a species critically endangered in the wild pictured at just a day old Photo Africa Alive!The baby Somali wild ass, born at Africa Alive! a species critically endangered in the wild pictured at just a day old Photo Africa Alive!

Not just one, not two, but three very welcome new arrivals have been announced at Africa Alive!

All are very rare and critically endangered species and a big success for an endangered species breeding programme.

Visitors can today see the long-legged and adorable little Somali wild ass foal, born on Wednesday June 19 and already happily following its mum Pienga and exploring its home.

Plus the safe arrival of twin black and white ruffed lemurs born earlier this month has just been announced.

Exploring its world, Africa Alive! new baby black and white ruffed lemur  Photo Africa AliveExploring its world, Africa Alive! new baby black and white ruffed lemur Photo Africa Alive

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It's an exciting time for the zoo at Kessingland near Lowestoft as both species are critically endangered in the wild.

Ruffed lemurs are the only lemur species to keep their young in a nest and if the mother needs to move them, she picks them up, one at a time, in her mouth, says a zoo spokesman.

"However, they develop rapidly and by three or four weeks of age they are able to follow her around on their own. Critically endangered in the wild, this species is part of a European Endangered species breeding Programme (EEP) and so our twins are a really valuable addition, not only to Africa Alive!, but also to the European captive population as a whole," she adds.

The birth of the baby ass is good news too, she says.

The Somali wild ass is the smallest wild member of the horse family and is listed as being 'Critically Endangered' on the IUCN Red List. At best there is only approximately 200 mature individuals left in the wild, so it is vitally important for those zoos that hold the species to increase the world-wide population, especially as recent droughts and political turmoil have made it very difficult to assess the current wild populations. With this uncertainty, it is vital that we increase the number of Somali Wild Asses born in captivity to help safeguard the species future.

"With the ruffed lemur twins now mobile enough to move about on their own and the Somali wild ass foal following mum Pienga and proud grandmother Calula around their large paddock, visitors to the zoo will be able to see these cute babies for themselves when they visit," she adds.

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