Endangered twin Ring-tailed lemurs born at Chester Zoo

Two endangered Ring-tailed lemurs have been born at Chester Zoo as part of the wildlife park's conservation programme.

The twin babies were born to seven-year-old mum Fiona and the zoo is hoping that their arrival will help highlight the plight of the species and their native home, Madagascar.

Primate conservationists say the island has lost around 90% of its original forest cover, stripping the lemurs of their vital habitat and exposing them to hunting and collection for the illegal pet trade.

The Lemurs will cling to their mum for the first weeks of their life. Credit: Chester Zoo

It is feared that almost half of the lemurs in the world have been wiped out in the last 36 years.

At just 15cm tall, the tiny twin lemurs are each no bigger than ‘tennis balls with tails’ and weigh just a few hundred grams.

Credit: Chester Zoo

Mike Jordan, Director of Animals and Plant Collections at Chester Zoo, said: "Ring-tailed lemurs are one of the planet’s highest primate conservation priorities, so we’re absolutely thrilled to see two tiny babies born into the group here at Chester.

"Wonderfully, youngsters are born just like miniature adults and already have all of their fur markings, including their iconic black and white tails which they use to help identify one another.

"At the moment they’re staying close to mum but it’ll only be a matter of weeks before they start to branch out and climb independently – then they’ll be a real handful for the whole group."

He added: "In these unsettling times, the arrival of such endangered babies really does help to raise a smile."

Chester Zoo’s conservationists have been fighting to protect habitats and unique species in Madagascar, one of the world’s most biodiverse islands, for 10 years alongside field partners Madagasikara Voakajy.