Cute, tree-leaping sifakas now at the Cincinnati Zoo | News
CINCINNATI (FOX19) - For the first time in Zoo history, the Cincinnati Zoo is home to the primate known as the sifaka. Pronounced shee-FA-kah, they are most commonly recognized from the PBS kids show, “Zoboomafoo”. The Zoo’s two new lemurs are a male named, “Rinaldo,” age 7, who came to Cincinnati from the Los Angeles Zoo in California and a female named, “Wilhelmina,” age 2, who came from the Duke Lemur Center.
Two Cincinnati Zoo keepers traveled to the Duke Lemur Center in North Carolina to escort the two sifakas to Cincinnati and spent several days learning how to best care for these beautiful creatures. The pair, which is recommended to breed, is now on exhibit in the Zoo’s Jungle Trails indoor exhibit. The pair are being introduced to the local media Thursday morning.
Sifakas are large lemurs built for a specialized type of locomotion called vertical clinging and leaping. Maintaining an upright posture, they use their powerful legs to jump from tree to tree. Their rear legs are extremely long and strong, allowing them to jump up to 30 feet somehow landing on spiny trees without hurting themselves. Their front legs are short, which means that on the ground they must use their rear legs to move about in a sideways dancing/hopping motion.
Like all lemurs, they are found only on Madagascar, the large island in the Indian Ocean east of South Africa. Active by day, sifakas sleep in small groups high up in the treetops to avoid predators at night.
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