Endangered Red Ruffed Lemur Born at San Diego Zoo Is 1st in 13 Years

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

The first rare red ruffed lemur to be born at the San Diego Zoo in 13 years is now 3 weeks old, and video released Wednesday shows the little guy cautiously exploring his world.

“Ony,” a rare red ruffed lemur, is shown in June 2016. (Credit: San Diego Zoo)

“Ony,” a rare red ruffed lemur, is shown in June 2016. (Credit: San Diego Zoo)

Named “Ony,” which means river in the Malagasy language of lemurs’ native Madagascar, the baby is part of a species that is on the brink of extinction, according to the zoo.

At its Primate Propagation Center, the zoo has been bred more than 100 of the lemurs since 1965, but Ony was the first in more than a decade when he was born May 18.

He weighs just 260 grams, or about 9.2 ounces, the zoo said.

Video provided by zoo showed the little guy struggling and seeming to look curiously around as a zoo keeper takes him in the be weighed.

The baby’s mother, Morticia, gives the baby — her first — a few licks on the back in their enclosure in another shot.

“Mom is doing a great job taking care of him,” said Kristen Watkins, a primate keeper at the zoo. “We were a little nervous at first because ruffed lemurs are very fragile when they’re born, but she’s been doing a great job.”

Morticia is nursing Ony and keepers are trying to be as hands-off as possible, Watkins said.

The lemurs will be viewable to the public when a new exhibit area opens in summer 2017.

Red ruffed lemurs, or Varecia rubra, are considered critically endangered, according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.