Spring has been a season of exciting births
Animal babies include lemur twins, rare beaded lizards, cobra snakelets, cuckoos and an infant colobus.
Spring has been an important season for primate births and reptile and bird hatchings at Zoo Atlanta, including two firsts for the Zoo, a new group of members for a species not currently reproducing anywhere else in the U.S., and a brand-new member of a growing family group.
Crowned lemur twins
Crowned lemur Sava gave birth to twins on April 28, 2018. Twins are relatively rare in crowned lemurs; the last twin birth at an Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) organization occurred in 2013 with the birth of the infants’ father, Xonsu, and a twin sibling. Sava and Xonsu, who arrived at Zoo Atlanta in 2017, are first-time parents.
Crowned lemurs are an endangered species found on the northernmost tip of Madagascar – the only place on Earth where the more than 100 known species of lemur are found. Lemurs and other Madagascan wildlife face pressing threats from habitat loss and habitat fragmentation as a result of slash-and-burn agriculture; charcoal production; gold and sapphire mining; and illegal hunting.
Sava’s and Xonsu’s babies, whose sexes are not yet known, join a crucial zoological population that will help to preserve their species. The crowned lemur is one of hundreds of species with zoological populations safeguarded by the AZA Species Survival Plan® (SSP), which seeks to ensure healthy, genetically diverse and self-sustaining animal populations for future generations.
The twins may be spotted with their parents in the Zoo’s Living Treehouse, which is also home to ringtailed lemurs, another endangered species, and black-and-white-ruffed lemurs, a critically endangered species.
Guatemalan beaded lizards
Six Guatemalan beaded lizards hatched between April 2 and April 11, 2018. Zoo Atlanta is the only zoological organization outside Guatemala that is currently breeding this species and has welcomed a total of 41 hatchlings since 2012.
The Guatemalan beaded lizard is an animal most people in the U.S. would have no awareness of were it not for zoological populations. The lizards are found only in the Motagua Valley in Guatemala, where they are believed to number fewer than 200 in the wild. Beaded lizards and their close relative, the Gila monster, are the only known venomous lizards. The wild population faces serious challenges from habitat loss, illegal trade and fear-based killing resulting from long-held myths.
Five Cape cobra snakelets hatched on April 27 and April 28, 2018.
Found in the scrublands of Africa’s Kalahari and Namib Deserts, the Cape cobra has one of the most powerful venoms of any cobra species. Wild populations are currently stable.
Guira cuckoo chicks hatched on May 3 and May 11, 2018. The chicks’ parents are the first breeding pair of this species to be housed at Zoo Atlanta. The chicks left their parents’ nest at 13 and 14 days old.
Natives of South America, Guira cuckoos are highly social birds and live in family groups. The new arrivals and their parents may be seen in the Zoo’s Anatomy of Flight aviary.
A male Angolan colobus infant was born March 8, 2018, to parents Lami and George. The infant, named Gerri in memory of a Zoo Atlanta team member, makes eight for the Zoo’s colobus group, which also includes Gerri’s sister, Orlando; half-sisters Kito and Zera; and adult females Adanna and Kinshasa.
While not currently classified as endangered, Angolan colobus populations face increasing threats in their native Africa. Like many other Old World monkey species, they are subject to habitat loss and hunting for the bushmeat trade.
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About Zoo Atlanta
Viewed as one of the finest zoological institutions in the U.S. and a proud accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), Zoo Atlanta has a mission to inspire value and preservation of wildlife through a unique mix of education and outdoor family experiences. From well-known native wildlife to critically endangered species on the brink of extinction, the Zoo offers memorable close encounters with more than 1,000 animals from around the world. Zoo highlights include giant pandas, including Ya Lun and Xi Lun, a set of twins born to Lun Lun on September 3, 2016; 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. Scaly Slimy Spectacular: The Amphibian and Reptile Experience, featuring more than 70 species in a 111,000 square-foot complex, is the world’s first LEED Gold-certified reptile and amphibian exhibit. The Zoo’s newest experience, Treetop Trail presented by Kaiser Permanente, opened in March 2017. Up-close-and-personal animal experiences include behind-the-scenes Wild Encounters with African elephants, African lions, Aldabra giant tortoises, giant pandas and lemurs. Zoo Atlanta is open year-round with the exceptions of Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Keeper talks, interactive wildlife presentations, education programs and special events run year-round. For more information, visit zooatlanta.org.