By Pete Goddard
A very rare species of a mongoose lemur has been born in the USA – and her first moments in life have been caught on camera.
Princess Buttercup was born on March 19, at Saint Louis Zoo – she is a happy and energetic baby and can be seen at the Primate Houseongoose playing with her mum, Dahlia, six, and dad, Snuffy, five.
She had a somewhat rough start in life as her mum cared for her – groomed her, kept her warm, and let her hang onto her fur – but wasn’t nursing her.
So for the first three weeks, the animal care staff had to hand feed to her formula milk using a syringe every two hours, to make sure she was progressing normally.
Mylisa Whipple, primate unit keeper, was one of the staff that contributed in drafting the birth plan.
She said: “We are all thrilled that Princess Buttercup is thriving and that we were able to assist Dahlia in raising her baby.
“It’s an exhausting process to raise a child – any parent can attest to this – but every mongoose lemur birth is extremely important for this endangered species.”
Dahlia was unsuccessful in raising her infants in the past, so the zoo staff had to make sure since the very beginning that Princess Buttercup has been healthy, comfortable and well-fed.
To achieve that, a birth plan was created since the early stages of pregnancy after consulting with conservation organisations.
The mongoose lemur is in danger of extinction- something that made the team of primate keepers even more careful and attentive with her.
Mylisa added: “We wanted to do the absolute best for her. It’s an amazing feeling to see her doing so well after such a tough start.”