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Meet Dudley Zoo's tiny new arrival with big role to play in protecting species from extinction

Meet Dudley Zoo's newest arrival – a baby black lemur.

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The baby black lemur

The baby was born to mum Barbara and dad Bryan last week and all are said to be doing well.

Staff are yet to confirm the newborn’s sex, but the fur of female black lemurs will turn brown after a few weeks, whereas males remain black, so they’ll reveal their own gender soon.

Section leader Jodie Dryden said: "Barbara is an experienced mum who had twins last year, so she's probably finding it easier this time around with just one!

The baby black lemur

"Baby is alert and doing well and the older twins, Charles and Camilla, who are now one year old, have been watching mum's actions closely, which will be a life skill for their important future roles in the breeding programme."

Black lemurs are a special species at Dudley Zoo, as the attraction is the black lemur European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) and International Studbook (ISB) holder.

Overseen by curator Richard Brown, alongside zoo registrar, Nicola Wright, they study the genetics of the black lemur species in more than 75 collections worldwide and will make recommendations about which lemurs are suitable for breeding together – it’s known as the animal version of a blind date.

Richard said: “We’re really pleased to have another healthy baby who will go on to have an important part in sustaining the captive population providing a safety net against the threat of extinction of this endangered species.”

In the wild, black lemurs are only found in Madagascar and are threatened by the pet trade and hunting for food.