A baby cuter than Princess Buttercup? Inconceivable!
The female mongoose lemur, which was born at the Saint Louis Zoo March 19, is now welcoming visitors at the Primate House along with her mom, Dahlia, and dad, Snuffy. Princess Buttercup marks the first successful birth and rearing of a mongoose lemur at the Saint Louis Zoo.
Because Dahlia had previously been unsuccessful in raising her infants, primate keepers at the Saint Louis Zoo provided extra care in the first few weeks, hand-feeding the infant every two hours and monitoring her weight closely. According to the zoo, she is now a healthy and energetic baby and starting to sample a variety of adult foods.
The mongoose lemur is a critically endangered species native to the dry forests of northwestern Madagascar. The small lemur weighs only 3 to 4 pounds as an adult. The mongoose lemur is in danger of extinction in the wild due to continued habitat loss. The Saint Louis Zoo is home to the international headquarters of the Madagascar Fauna and Flora Group, a consortium of zoos and aquariums committed to conserving lemurs and other wildlife species within their native habitat. Princess Buttercup’s birth is part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Mongoose Lemur Species Survival Plan, a program to manage a genetically healthy population of mongoose lemurs in North American zoos.
“We are all thrilled that Princess Buttercup is thriving and that we were able to assist Dahlia in raising her baby,” said Mylisa Whipple, a primate unit keeper who helped prepare her birth plan. “It’s an exhausting process to raise a child – any parent can attest to this – but every mongoose lemur birth is extremely important for this endangered species and we wanted to do the absolute best for her. It’s an amazing feeling to see her doing so well after such a tough start.”
The Saint Louis Zoo is located at 1 Government Dr., St. Louis, MO. General admission is free.