A blue-eyed black lemur baby

For three consecutive years, a female Blue-eyed black lemur has given birth to a youngling in Zoo Ostrava. She successfully raised her babies born in 2017 (female) and 2018 (male) and this year’s baby lemur is expected to be successfully raised, too. Every naturally raised young lemur (i.e. raised by its mother) is very important for saving this critically endangered primate.

Since the European population of Blue-eyed black lemurs is only 30, each born and successfully raised youngling is great news. Two baby lemurs were born in the USA this year, but they did not survive, so the Ostrava’s youngling is the only baby blue-eyed black lemur that has survived this year!

Currently, only a few females are fertile in Europe, but only the Ostrava female raises its offspring naturally, the others do not take care of the young, which are then raised artificially (i.e. by humans). But this, too, confirms that the natural raising by the mother (parents) and minimal intervention by humans is the only right way to raise (not only) lemurs, because no artificially raised Blue-eyed black lemur has ever reproduced in Europe.

In 2005, Zoo Ostrava became a member of the non-governmental organization AEECL (Lemur Conservation Association), which organises the international rescue project Sahamalaza. There are over 30 ZOOs involved. It contributes to the protection of fragile biodiversity directly in the homeland of lemurs – in Madagascar. The project includes not only researching and rescuing Blue-eyed black lemurs, but also other endemic animals and plants living there, as well as protecting the entire ecosystem, building schools, innovation and eco-friendly farming, teaching children, digging wells, afforestation, etc.

Every visitor to Zoo Ostrava is also involved in the rescue of the Blue-eyed black lemur through “Two Koruna from Every Ticket”, a programme from which the Sahamalaza project is also funded. Last year CZK 190,000 was collected for this animal during the third year of the Ostrava Zoo charity run, which was focused on the Blue-eyed black lemur and the Sahamalaza project.

Source: ZOO Ostrava press release; photo: Pavel Vlček