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Maryland Zoo gets two new endangered ring-tailed lemurs

A new species of lemur has arrived at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, adding to a multi-species collection that has also grown in other ways recently.

Alexander and Fern, the two new ring-tailed lemurs, are the first of their kind at the zoo, which also welcomed a newborn Coquerel's sifaka lemur in March named Max. Max's siblings Otto and Nero were born at the zoo in recent years.

Alexander, 8, and Fern, 6, recently arrived in Baltimore from the Duke Lemur Center in Durham, North Carolina, zoo officials said. They were quarantined for 30 days, a standard precaution, but will now be featured in a new enclosure along the zoo's "Lemur Lane" exhibit, which also features red ruffed lemurs.

"We are very excited to introduce this new lemur species to our visitors," said Mike McClure, the zoo's general curator, in a statement. "These two lemurs are very active and very curious about their new surroundings. They are a great addition to the Zoo and I am sure they will become quite popular with our visitors."

Ring-tailed lemurs have long black-and-white striped tails, stand about 18 inches tall, and weigh between 5 and 8 pounds. Like all other lemur species, ring-tailed lemurs are endangered in the wild. They live in trees, but come to the ground to forage — eating fruit, flowers, leaves, bark and sap.

The exhibit they will inhabit was recently donated by retired zoo volunteer Kris Bowling, who has made other capital donations and has volunteered 3,374 hours at the zoo since 1998, zoo officials said.

Visitors can see all the zoo's lemurs along Lemur Lane.

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