The Red Ruffed Lemur from Madagascar, Fota Wildlife Park, County Cork
There are so many different Species of Wildlife at Corks Fota Wildlife park that you would need many visits in order to get to know as much as you can about them all, along with getting enough time to observer their individual personalities.
During last weekends visit I found so much that I liked about them all but for me the Red Ruffed Lemurs were very special fun to spend some time with. They never stopped moving around their island and their climbing and balancing skills were just amazing to take in.
Here are some basic details about these wonderful Lemur’s
About the Red Ruffed Lemur
Named for the long thick fur that grows around its head and body, the Red Ruffed Lemur is an agile primate that has made the island of Madagascar its home. Males and females look the same – its body is close to its feet, the animal has piercing (sometimes reddish) eyes and it usually weighs between seven and 12 pounds.
Ruffed Lemurs are found exclusively on the island of Madagascar off the continent of African, and are generally found in the upper canopy of the tropical rainforests on the eastern side of the island.
The species is considered to be crepuscular, which simply means that they are most active at dawn and dusk. Their diet consists mainly of fruits, seeds, nectar and plant matter and the animal scent marks its territories and uses an elaborate system of alarm calls to alert other group members if predators are nearby.
Female Red Ruffed Lemurs don’t carry their offspring like most other primates; instead, mothers give birth and leave their young in nests that are generally found between ten and 20 metres above ground level. However, infant mortality is high with about 65% of newborns not reaching three months.
The species is listed as being Critically Endangered after a significant decline in population in recent decades because of agriculture, logging and mining activities across its habitat. In fact, over 90% of Madagascar’s original rainforest is gone.
It is estimated that there could be as few as 1,000 to 10,000 left in the wild, while the Black & White Lemur is the most Endangered of the two Ruffed Lemurs.
Did you know?
The Ruffed Lemur feeds on nectar by sticking its long nose deep into the flower. The Lemur’s snout becomes coated with pollen in the process, which is then transported to other flowers – making the animal an important pollinator within its local habitat.
The Fota Connection
The Park is home to three of the 16 species of Lemur and two varieties of the Ruffed Lemur – the Red and Black and White species.
The Ruffed Lemurs are maintained on separate islands alongside each other in the lakes area as they are territorial animals, while Fota has been actively involved in a series of projects aimed at preserving what remains of their natural habitat in Madagascar.