OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Zookeepers are playing matchmaker in Oakland, where current lemur resident Anthony met Dern for the first time.
Dern is a rare blue-eyed lemur relocated to Oakland Zoo from Waco, TX. Oakland Zoo is just one of 11 zoos in the U.S. to keep a lemur, and the hope is 17-year-old Dern will fancy Anthony enough to produce some offspring.
If efforts are successful, zookeepers estimate the highly endangered lemur will become pregnant during the winter months, when lemur breeding season occurs.
“We started introductions four weeks ago and they are going great,” said Margaret Rousser, Zoological Manager. “I’m surprised by how well they got along right away. However, we anticipate introductions with the ringtail lemurs, which coexist in the exhibit, to be the most difficult transition.”
There are currently only 28 lemurs of this kind living in captivity in the United States. Found in Madagascar, blue-eyed lemurs are one of the 25 most endangered primates in the world with about 1,000 believed to be left in the wild. The biggest threat to their natural habits are hunting, trapping and logging.