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Zoo Atlanta is celebrating the birth of a crowned lemur. Born May 20, 2024, to mother Sava, the new arrival represents an endangered species native to one of the planet’s richest and most imperiled hotspots of biodiversity.

The newborn was delivered via Caesarean section when Sava’s labor, which began normally during the morning hours, had begun to stall by the afternoon, suggesting a breech presentation. The infant was quickly reunited with Sava, who is recovering well, and is nursing normally.

“Zoo Atlanta is thrilled to welcome Sava’s infant. It is always a cause for celebration and hope when a population of an endangered species gains another member,” said Sam Rivera, DVM, Vice President of Animal Health. “While Caesarean births are not necessarily unusual for this species in human care, we are proud of our Animal Care and Veterinary Teams, who acted proactively to ensure the well-being of both Sava and her newborn.”

The infant is the fourth surviving offspring of experienced parents Sava, 10, and male Xonsu, 11. Sava and Xonsu were recommended to pair by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan® (SSP). SSP programs exist to ensure that zoological animal populations remain healthy, genetically diverse, and self-sustaining for future generations.

Crowned lemurs are found on the northernmost tip of Madagascar – the only place on Earth where the more than 100 known species of lemur are found. Madagascar is also home to some of Earth’s most threatened wildlife. Like all lemurs, crowned lemurs face pressing threats from habitat loss and habitat fragmentation as a result of slash-and-burn agriculture; charcoal production; and mining for gold and sapphires. Lemurs are also captured for the pet trade, despite the fact that, like all primates, they are not suitable pets.

Sava and her newborn are currently bonding behind the scenes in the Zoo’s lemur complex and in coming days, may be spotted in the Zoo’s Living Treehouse. The Living Treehouse, which also hosts a diversity of bird life, is home to two other lemur species: ringtailed lemurs, which are endangered, and black-and-white-ruffed lemurs, which are critically endangered.

As the weeks go by, the infant’s developing coloration will be the primary indicator of whether it is male or female. Females are primarily gray with orange crowns, while males are a darker red-brown in color, with black and orange crowns.

Learn more about the Zoo’s mission, animal, and programs or plan a visit at

(Photos: Jodi Carrigan)

Rachel Davis
Director of Communications

Gavin Johnson
Public Relations and Communications Specialist

About Zoo Atlanta
A proud accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the gold standard for animal care and welfare, Zoo Atlanta has a mission to save wildlife and their habitats through conservation, research, education, and engaging experiences. The Zoo is home to more than 1,000 animals representing more than 200 species from around the world, many of them endangered or critically endangered. Highlights include giant pandas.; one of North America’s largest zoological populations of great apes; and a global center of excellence for the care and study of reptiles and amphibians. Recent transformations include the African Savanna, featuring new and expanded habitats for African elephants, giraffes, zebras, ostriches, warthogs, meerkats, and rhinos; Savanna Hall, a state-of-the-art special event destination in the restored historic former home of the Atlanta Cyclorama; and the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Plaza. For more information, visit

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