The birth of a Crowned lemur at the Brandywine Zoo is welcome news for this globally endangered species. DNREC/Linnea Hummel photo
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and Brandywine Zoo are excited to announce its newest addition, a baby Crowned lemur, which recently was welcomed into the zoo. The lemur baby was born to Sophie and Kipp, Crowned lemurs that came to and were paired at the Brandywine Zoo in October 2020 as part of an Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP). This is the second SSP birth from a breeding pair at the zoo this summer – a Southern pudu fawn was welcomed in July.
The lemur baby born at the Brandywine Zoo is a significant contribution to the Crowned lemur population in North America. This birth brings the total number of Crowned lemurs in AZA institutions nationally to 35, which includes the Brandywine Zoo’s recent arrival as the only crowned lemur baby born this year. SSPs are conservation breeding programs where vulnerable species in human care are optimally matched for genetic diversity to increase the population. Kipp was born at the Duke Lemur Center in 2016, while Sophie was born at Zoo Atlanta in 2018.
Crowned lemurs are an endangered species and their population is in decline. They are threatened by deforestation and habitat loss caused by other land use conversion, such as charcoal production and mining for sapphires and gold; the illegal pet trade; and hunting for bushmeat.
The Brandywine Zoo is one of only 12 locations in North America where Crowned lemurs can be viewed by the public. Sophie and Kipp joined two other species of lemurs – the Black and White Ruffed and Ring-Tailed lemurs – and Radiated tortoises when the zoo’s Madagascar exhibit opened in 2020. That new exhibit is part of the Brandywine Zoo’s master plan, which focuses on improved animal welfare and guest experiences, species of conservation concern and the inclusion of more mixed species exhibits. In addition to the Madagascar habitat, the master plan includes the already-completed condor viewing area, honeybee display and play area, goat barnyard experience and Animal Care Center.
Sophie and her baby are not yet on exhibit at the zoo and won’t be for some time – probably into the fall. Staff are closely monitoring Sophie and her as yet unnamed infant and will be able to identify the newborn’s sex and weight once the infant is old enough to venture away from its mother.
The Brandywine Zoo is managed by the DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation with support by its non-profit partner, the Delaware Zoological Society (DZS). DZS supports the mission of the Brandywine Zoo and is raising funds for more upgrades to the zoo that include updated animal habitats, infrastructure, and guest services. For more information about or to donate to the Our Zoo-Re-imagined Capital Campaign, visit https://brandywinezoo.org/reimagined/ or email Mark Shafer, Delaware Zoological Society executive director, MShafer@brandywinezoo.org
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities, and educates Delawareans about the environment. The DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation oversees more than 26,000 acres in 17 state parks and the Brandywine Zoo. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn.