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.