Page last updated at 11:24 GMT, Friday, 4 July 2008 12:24 UK

Zoo celebrates rare lemur birth

Warbie the baby lemur born at Bristol Zoo
Ring-tailed lemurs eat fruit, leaves, flowers and nectar

Bristol Zoo have been celebrating the birth of an endangered ring-tailed lemur which they have named "Warbie".

Ring-tailed lemurs are classified as "vulnerable" because the population in their native Madagascar is thought to between 10,000 and 100,000.

The tropical dry and scrub forests where they live are being destroyed by agriculture, charcoal production and mining for gemstones and minerals.

The creatures are one of the zoo's most popular so their births are important.

'Very mischievous'

"Warbie" was born seven weeks ago and has been photographed for the first time on the zoo's dedicated lemur island with her mother Roxy and three other adults.

Mel Gage, of Bristol Zoo, said: "We are thrilled with our latest arrival. Ring-tailed lemurs are among our most popular animals and are also classified as 'vulnerable', so their births are important.

"The four adult ring-tailed lemurs are keeping a close eye on the youngster, but she is getting more adventurous and can already be seen monkeying around in the bushes and trees on lemur island.

"Our visitors also love them as they look very cute, but can also be very mischievous and therefore highly entertaining to observe."

The creatures live on a diet of fruit, leaves and flowers and can live up to 20 years in captivity.

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