Science

Endangered Coquerel’s Sifaka Born!


Little “peanut” Kapika holds on to mom. (Image Credit: Ray Meibaum/Saint Louis Zoo)

By Kristen E. Strubberg Editor-in-Chief

Meet Kapika (Malagasy for “peanut”) a female Coquerel’s Sifaka lemur born January 21 at the St. Louis Zoo. She is mother Almirena’s fourth baby with father Caligula.

After birth the newborn lemur latches to mom’s chest but after a few weeks moves to mom’s back, according to ARKive. Once she reaches one year old, Kapika will be full grown and capable making 30ft leaps between trees and the hopping bipedal movement that’s distinctive to the species.

Look at that smile! (Image Credit: Ray Meibaum/Saint Louis Zoo)

Coquerel’s Sifaka are listed as endangered but due to decreasing population, the species may soon be upgraded to Critically Endangered. Their primary threat is poaching. Hunting the lemur is considered taboo to Madagascar natives but newcomers do not share the same views. Destruction of their forest habitat for agriculture has also decreased their numbers. Fortunately Kapika and family live at the international headquarters of the Madagascar Fauna Group, a cooperative between zoos and aquariums aimed at preserving lemurs among many other threatened Madagascar species.

Find out more about the newborn at the St. Louis Zoo website and St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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