Moody Gardens is proud to introduce pygmy slow loris twins born on March 22. Breeding of this species is often challenging and largely rare in captivity. In fact, this is only one of five pygmy slow loris births in captivity in North America over the past year.
“This is such an exciting event,” said Paula Kolvig, assistant curator at Moody Gardens. “We have been keeping a very close eye on these babies, and we are very pleased to see steady growth so far.”
The addition of the twins is a valuable boost to the population of this primitive primate species called prosimians that are found in tropical forests of Vietnam, China and Cambodia. Currently, there are only about 75 pygmy slow lorises in North American zoos and aquariums and fewer than 200 in captivity worldwide. Due to numerous environmental threats, the wild population is dwindling, and the species is listed as a threatened species by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services.
To bring this mammal back from the brink of extinction, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, of which Moody Gardens is an accredited member, created a Species Survival Plan program for the pygmy slow loris. The birth was a great success of this cooperative breeding and conservation program, which helps ensure the survival of the species in both wild and captivity.
The baby boy and girl were born between mother Luyen and father Icarus. The parents are ten and 14 years of age and have been members of the Moody Gardens animal collection since 2004.
“Luyen has been a very attentive and good mother to the twins,” said Kolvig. “The babies stay attached to their mom for the majority of the day, taking plenty of opportunities to nurse.”
Visitors will be able to see both the parents and the twins in the Rainforest Pyramid once the $25 million enhancement project is completed in May 2011. The mother normally nurses her young until they reach approximately nine-months-old. Until then, the attentive mother will continue to pamper her kids behind the scenes. For information, visit moodygardens.org or call 800-582-4673.
Moody Gardens® is a public, non-profit, educational destination utilizing nature in the advancement of rehabilitation, conservation, recreation, and research.