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Carlo: Male, born at the Philadelphia Zoo on January 7, 2012.
Julia: Female, born at the Houston Zoo in Texas on January 28, 2013. She arrived at the Zoo on March 16, 2016.
PECO Primate Reserve
The Philadelphia Zoo is one of only a handful of places in the world where you can see this highly endangered primate from Madagascar, made famous by the PBS television series Zoboomafoo, featuring the Kratt brothers and their Coquerel's sifaka, (cock-er-al's she-fak) mascot.
Sifaka differ from other lemurs in the way they move, using a form of locomotion called vertical clinging and leaping. They leap in an upright position from one vertical branch or trunk to another, using their powerful back legs to propel them over twenty feet in one jump. When they move on the ground, they skip or bound on their hind legs.
Coquerel's sifaka are mostly white to off-white, with maroon patches on the chest and the fronts of their thighs and arms. The skin on the face and ears is bare and black. Males and females have the same coloration and patterning, and are about the same size.
Coquerel's sifaka live in dry lowland forest, mostly mixed deciduous forests.
Sifakas are known for their characteristic "shih-fak" alarm call, for which they are named.
Like most lemurs, Coquerel's sifaka have a particular breeding season. In the wild, in the southern hemisphere, most babies are born in June and July, during the southern winter. In zoos in the U.S., in the northern hemisphere, the breeding season is reversed, and most babies are born from December to March, during the northern winter. The gestation period is about 160 days.
Baby sifaka are born fully furred, with their eyes open. Only one infant is born at a time. The infant clings to its mother's belly for the first four weeks, shifting only to nurse, and then begins to ride on her back. After five to six months of age, the youngster is weaned.
Coquerel's sifaka are social, living in small groups of two to eight individuals. Females are dominant to males, having preferential access to food. Sifakas are diurnal, and may be active from sunrise to sunset.
Coquerel's sifaka have been known to live more than 20 years in zoos, but a typical lifespan is around 11 years. Lifespan in the wild is not well known.
Coquerel's sifakas have an average body length of about 17 in (43 cm) with a tail length of about 23 in (58 cm).
Coquerel's sifakas typically weigh 8-9 lb (363-408 kg).
In the wild, during the wet season, they generally eat young leaves, flowers, dead wood, bark, and fruit; during the dry season; buds and mature leaves. Overall, they're known to consume over 98 different species of plants. At the Zoo, sifakas are fed nuts, winged sumac (which is a plant that is collected during the summer and kept frozen until needed) assorted veggies and chickpeas.
Coquerel's sifakas are found solely in the northwest corner of Madagascar, a large island off the east coast of Africa.
On the 2011 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the Coquerel's sifaka is listed as Endangered.
To learn more about the conservation efforts at the Philadelphia Zoo, click here.
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