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Zoo welcomes two new crowned lemurs

Sava and Xonsu are ambassadors for one of Earth’s most imperiled natural habitats

Zoo Atlanta welcomes two new faces to its renowned primate population, each with an important individual message of conservation for one of the planet’s most imperiled wild places. Sava and Xonsu, a pair of young crowned lemurs, are the newest additions to the Zoo’s Living Treehouse complex.

Female Sava, 3, and male Xonsu, 4, are recent arrivals from the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago and have been recommended to pair by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan® (SSP). The species is new to Zoo Atlanta, which also houses black-and-white-ruffed lemurs and ringtailed lemurs.

“It’s always exciting to introduce a new species to the Zoo Atlanta family, especially when that species has a message like crowned lemurs have,” said Hayley Murphy, DVM, Vice President of Animal Divisions. “The island of Madagascar has become famous for its wealth of natural wonders, but these same flora and fauna are facing serious pressures in the wild.”

There are more than 100 known species of lemur, and all are found only on Madagascar – one of Earth’s richest hotspots of biodiversity and one of its most jeopardized. Currently classified as endangered, crowned lemurs are found on the island’s northernmost tip and face the same pressing conservation challenges shared by all lemurs and other Madagascan wildlife: habitat loss and habitat fragmentation as a result of slash-and-burn agriculture; charcoal production; gold and sapphire mining; and illegal logging.

Should Sava and Xonsu produce offspring, their young will join a crucial zoological population that will help to safeguard their species. The crowned lemur is one of hundreds of species managed through SSP programs in AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums in North America. Zoo Atlanta is an active contributor to more than 20 SSPs, which exist to ensure that zoological populations remain healthy, genetically diverse and self-sustaining for future generations.

Sava and Xonsu will have an opportunity to explore their new habitat in The Living Treehouse, a section of The Ford African Rain Forest, before meeting the Zoo’s other lemurs. The mixed-species troop includes three black-and-white-ruffed lemurs, a critically endangered species, and two ringtailed lemurs, an endangered species.

Zoo Atlanta Members and guests should be on the lookout for the new arrivals as they become accustomed to their new home. Visit zooatlanta.org to learn more or to plan a trip.

MEDIA CONTACTS:  
Rachel Davis
Director of Communications
404.624.2812 – office
404.309.2238 – cell
rdavis@zooatlanta.org

Gavin Johnson
Public Relations & Communications Specialist
404.624.5980 – office
gjohnson@zooatlanta.org

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; North America’s largest zoological population 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, Aldabra giant tortoises, giant pandas and warthogs. Zoo Atlanta is open daily with the exceptions of Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Keeper talks, interactive wildlife shows, education programs and special events run year-round. For more information, visit zooatlanta.org.

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