A critically endangered ‘dancing lemur’ has been born at Chester Zoo

They're rare, cute and, like most of us, love a boogie.

Danny Jones Danny Jones - 28th December 2023

One last bit of uplifting animal news in the North West for 2023, as a critically endangered species most commonly known as a ‘dancing lemur’ has been born at Chester Zoo.

The award-winning wildlife conservation park and zoo has had another great 12 months, helping improve nature recovery around the Cheshire region, welcoming multiple rare breeds like the Bornean orangutan, baby okapis and black jaguar, and now helping give birth to another endangered primate.

Arriving back in September and pictured for the first time ahead of the festive period, one of the Chester Zoo‘s female Coquerel’s sifakas, a.k.a. the ‘dancing lemur’, gave birth to a 120g baby following a five-month pregnancy, one of just handful in Europe.

The tiny new arrival was born to parents Beatrice, 11, and 10-year-old Elliot, whose family are the only dancing lemurs anywhere in the UK. Incredible.

Well, would you look at this little cutey?

Seen here, the Coquerel’s sifaka (Propithecus coquereli) are dubbed dancing lemurs due to the unique way they move, springing from side to side along the ground, as well as leaping more than 20 feet into the air and among the treetops.


With their population wiped out by around 80% over the past three decades, not mention more than 90% of their indigenous home in the northwestern forests of Madagascar — the only place where lemurs are found in the wild on Earth — having also been destroyed, the significance of his birth cannot be overstated.

Clinging to its mother’s fur in these early months, the baby is soon expected to start branching out and exploring on its own, at which point the zookeepers will be able to determine whether it is a girl or a boy. Lemurs are a rarity in the mammal world as they are one of the few species that are female-dominant.


Once again, this is important to determine in regards to the survival of the animal as, sadly, 94% of all lemur populations are at risk of dying out and several larger species have already gone extinct. They also play a huge role in maintaining forest health and diversity through seed dispersal and pollination.

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Speaking on the birth, Dr Nick Davis, Primatologist and General Manager of Mammals at the zoo, said: “A new arrival into the conservation breeding programme is a huge boost for the species, especially as the little one will be joining only five other Coquerel’s sifaka living in zoos across Europe, so every addition is very special.

“The new baby was born with a thick fuzzy white coat, just like its parents, and is already wide-eyed and full of personality. Mum Beatrice is being kept very busy with her playful arrival who is feeding from her regularly and has, so far, shown great signs of development.”


Chester Zoo’s Director of Animals and Plants, Mike Jordan, added that the conversation and charity arm has helped “develop a special area of protected [Madagscan] forest, spanning more than 27,000 hectares, to safeguard the island’s unique wildlife including lemurs, frogs and reptiles.”

The hope is to “ensure species like the Coquerel’s sifaka can thrive for generations to come” and, thanks to the zoo’s vital work, they’re backing up that mission statement across all manner of wildlife.

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Featured Images — Supplied/Chester Zoo