Saturday, June 2, 2007

Red-ruffed Lemurs born

Six red-ruffed lemurs were born at a Florida conservation center. Considered very endangered like most of Madagascar's species, the birth of these lemurs will hopefully help keep the captive populations healthy and genetically diverse, particularly since the mothers are the daughters of a wild-caught female.

Wild caught animals that are part of conservation programs are termed "foundation stock" since their genetics are considered distinctly unique from captive stock which tends to get inbred and similar across different groups of animals fairly quickly. The goal of any conservation program is to preserve as many "foundation" genetics as possible, meaning that all founders are equally represented in the captive population in the comparison of numbers of descendants. This will maintain a genetically diverse population, which is a much healthier population, overall. For this reason, even within a highly endangered species, animals that are descendant from a founder with fewer offspring are considered more valuable, genetically, since their genetics are not as widespread throughout a population.

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