Catch up with the latest news at LRZ with articles, press releases, and other fun updates

written and created by Zoo Staff.

Red-Ruffed Lemur Pups

The Zoo’s first-ever-lemur baby, red ruffed lemur Mafy, born last June, now has a brother and sister! The pair of lemurs were born on the morning of June 28th at the Zoo’s Primate Forest - Lemurs!


Red ruffed lemurs can give birth to 1 – 6 infants in a litter, while 2 – 3 is more typical. Mother Sorsha has been extremely attentive to the infants, and after just over a week of bonding time, brother Mafy, uncle Frank, and father Bogey were able to join them in the indoor dayroom. The boys have been very interested in their new family members but have been extremely respectful of matriarch Sorsha and her babies. Very precocious and curious, the infants are already poking their heads out of the front of the nest box. Chances for visitors to see them become better each day.


The births of Mafy and his as-yet-unnamed siblings were the result of breeding recommendations from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Red Ruffed Lemur Species Survival Plan (SSP). Lee Richardson Zoo is proud to work with the other participants in the SSP toward the long-term sustainability of red ruffed lemurs and enhancing the conservation of the species in the wild through combined efforts and cooperative management of the population.


Red ruffed lemurs are native to the northeastern part of Madagascar. They are critically endangered due to habitat loss and fragmentation, as well as hunting. Learn more about how you can help red ruffed lemurs when you visit the zoo.


Image: Two red-ruffed lemur pups

August is for Antelopes

August is for Antelopes! Or at least it is according to Peppermint Narwhal Creative.  Peppermint Narwhal Creative is an environmental conservation organization that aims to creatively celebrate the entirety of the animal kingdom, from the iconic to the obscure.  They do this by creating unique illustrations and infographics and sharing them online.  You can find their work on most social media outlets as well as their website www.peppermintnarwhal.com.  The Peppermint Narwhal Creative is very popular among Zoo staff and conservation fans around the world!

                During the month of August, the Peppermint Narwhal Creative and other conservation groups shine a spotlight on antelope species from around the world.  They will also highlight other species often referred to as antelopes, that aren’t technically antelope! For example, the Lee Richardson Zoo is currently home to only one species of antelope, the addax.  However, many people believe that pronghorn commonly referred to as the “American antelope”, are antelope when really, they aren’t considered a “true” antelope.

                So, what is an antelope? The term “antelope” is not a taxonomic term.  The word refers to a miscellaneous animal group in the family Bovidae, including all the species that aren’t cattle, sheep, or goats.  The term includes even-toed ruminants (hooved herbivorous grazing or browsing animals) that are native to regions in Africa and Eurasia.  A group of antelope is called a herd.  Unlike deer antlers, which are shed and grown annually, antelope horns grow continuously.

North American pronghorn are native to the prairie regions of North America.  They are commonly referred to as pronghorn antelope but are not antelopes, or closely related to other antelopes.  Pronghorn are the only surviving member of the Anilocapridae family.  Males have large horns that have a prong in the front.  Females have a much smaller horn with no prong, or the horn may be absent in the female.  Unlike true horns, these are shed annually.  The pronghorn’s closest relatives are found in the Giraffidae family, which includes giraffes and the okapi.  Pronghorn were once as abundant as bison were in the 19th century; however, loss of prairie habitat and uncontrolled hunting (in the past) led to a dramatic decline earlier in this century.  Reintroduction programs have re-established them in many areas.  Pronghorn are listed on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as least concern due to the overall stability of populations. 

The critically endangered Addax antelope are a nomadic desert-living species indigenous to the Sahara Desert. The Sahara Conservation Fund (SCF) exists to conserve the wildlife of the Sahara and bordering Sahelian grasslands.  According to their website, there are fewer than 100 addax individuals living in isolated pockets only found in one small area of the Termit/Tin Toumma region of Niger. Addax are the most threatened ungulate in the Sahara and quite possibly the world.  The SCF has been collaborating for years with other organizations, governments, and various stakeholders to preserve the addax.  Lee Richardson Zoo is part of the Association of Zoo and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) for addax, another plan that helps ensure a future for addax. Visit the African Plains portion of the zoo to learn more about Addax, their SSP, and the Sahara Conservation Fund.  Or visit the SCF at www.saharaconservation.org.

For more antelope-themed fun, follow @LeeRichardsonZoo or @PeppermintNarwhal on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  Make time to visit the zoo in August; if you’re worried about the heat, keep it cool by driving through the zoo.  Both the addax and pronghorn habitats are viewable from the drive-through portion of the zoo.  August’s Wild Wednesday (free vehicle entry for all zoo guests) is August 3rd or just $10 per vehicle and free for Friends of the Lee Richardson Zoo members on other days.  Have a happy antelope August!


- Emily S. Communication Specialist