Animal Diaries Archive
Primates are currently off display
5 May 2008It has been almost a year since Australia Zoo’s resident Black and White Ruffed Lemurs, Stephanie and Oscar, first met. After many an excited and flirtatious gaze at one another through the neighbouring enclosures, the two “love-birds-to-be” were finally allowed in the same enclosure together to go on their first official date! Well, things went so well that the date didn’t end, and they have remained together, sharing living quarters ever since.
After getting to know each other for a number of weeks, Oscar finally decided to make the move and see if Steph would allow him to groom her…. Success! This was a sure sign that the bond between the two lemurs was growing stronger, and love was in the air! This was a big relief for our primate team, as we suspected Steph may soon be ready to mate. The breeding season for these critically endangered lemurs is typically from May to June. Stephanie started showing the characteristic signs of coming into season, such as an increase in appetite and activity levels, being more protective and territorial of her surroundings, and dragging browse around her enclosure.
Things were looking hopeful for the new couple. We were all very because these two lemurs are part of a very important breeding program operating between Australian and international zoological parks. Steph and Oscar are originally from two different zoos and are from two completely different gene pools, which is a highly important factor in order to breed strong, healthy animals. If these primates were to continue breeding amongst the same family groups, with no introduced bloodlines, genetic disorders and other health problems would become evident and ultimately end in a lemur troop of poor genetic variety, strength and health.
But alas, it seems Oscar may have worn an ugly tie out to dinner, or used the wrong romantic poem in his efforts to woo Stephanie, as their first efforts to reproduce were sadly unsuccessful. Although we had our hopes up for a month or two, Steph showed no signs of pregnancy and all too soon it was the end of the breeding season for 2007.
Do not fear- all is not lost! It is now nearing breeding season once again for our beautiful Black and White Ruffed Lemurs. The two are now closer than ever, after existing a year together through the trials and tribulations of Lemur love. We are hopeful that by the years end we will hear the pitter-patter of one, maybe even two, miniature Stephanie’s or Oscars running around! Keep your fingers crossed for us and we will keep you updated on the latest lemur love stories!
Till next time,
Good Luck Steph and Oscar!