March 13, 2014

Saint Louis Zoo 314/781-0900
Susan Gallagher, 314/646-4633
Christy Childs, 314/646-4639
Joanna Bender, 314/646-4703


A female baby Coquerel's sifaka (CAHK-ker-rells sh-FAHK), an endangered lemur species from Madagascar, was born at the Saint Louis Zoo's Primate House on January 21, 2014, and can now be seen by visitors. See video on the Zoo's YouTube channel.

This is the fourth baby for mother, Almirena (al-mah-REE-nah), age 12, from the Los Angeles Zoo, and father Caligula, age 16, from Duke Lemur Center. The baby's name is Kapika (kah-PEE-kah), which means "peanut" in Malagasy.

Visitors can see the sifaka family – baby, mother, father, 2-year-old female, Martine, and 3-year-old female, Sophie – indoors at the Primate House. See video on the Zoo's YouTube channel.

Sifakas are among the most amazing types of lemurs because of their long, frog-like legs. Clinging to the trunk of a tree, sifakas can kick off with their powerful legs and leap more than 30 feet to another tree.

On the ground, with arms raised, they move in a charmingly odd bipedal hop.

The Zoo's sifakas are part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Coquerel's Sifaka Species Survival Plan, which is responsible for maintaining a genetically healthy population of sifakas in North American zoos. The birth of this rare lemur in St. Louis represents a valuable genetic contribution to the North American sifaka population.

Lemurs are a group of primates that are found in the wild only in Madagascar, the fourth largest island in the world. The other primates, monkeys and apes, never reached the island. Without their competitive cousins, lemurs adapted to live in the varied habitats that occur in Madagascar.

Like many other types of lemurs, the Coquerel's sifaka is in danger of extinction in the wild. These animals suffer from continued habitat loss, as their forest homes are logged for timber and turned into farmland.

The Saint Louis Zoo is home to the international headquarters of the Madagascar Fauna Group, a consortium of zoos and aquariums committed to conserving lemurs and other wildlife species within their native habitat.