The Season To See Baby Black Lemurs
As we entered mid-September Volunteers were excited to report sightings of infant black lemurs! Tiny masses of dark fur clinging to the bellies of females almost makes them easy to miss! Seeing infants is a huge deal. However due to the mating pattern of the black lemur, which is dwindling in population size.
Black lemurs typically mate between April and May and have a gestation period of approximately 125 days. One offspring is the most common however twins are also a possibility! Black lemurs are only found in the north-western area of Madagascar making Nosy Komba one of the only places you can see them in the wild. Due to a lack of research done specifically on black lemurs, experts are not positive of the exact remaining size of the species. It is estimated that black lemurs have the lowest population size within the genus of only 450-2,300 lemurs. This low population size makes the sighting of infants that much more special.
Having an annual breeding schedule means the lemurs typically only breed once a year. Once the baby is born, it clings tightly to its mother. They will shift only slightly to nurse for its first three weeks. At 4 weeks old, the baby black lemurs can begin to move small objects and can even travel a small distance. By 7 weeks old they can explore their environment. The babies are not completely independent until 5-6 months when they are weaned from their mothers.
Moms provide more than food for the babies though! The moms also groom, protect, transport and socialize their young. During the period of time that the baby is dependent on their mother. They are slowly learning how to do these things for themselves. Eventually once the baby black lemur has reached 2 years old they have become sexually matured and can begin reproducing themselves.
Unfortunately, the population size continues to be threatened. This is due to the loss of habitat in their already limited natural location and their breeding pattern. Hopefully through the continued efforts to conserve their natural habitats and to raise awareness and education on Black Lemurs and their species, MRCI can continue to study these amazing creatures for decades to come!
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