- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 14, 2016

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The Audubon Zoo says critically endangered lemurs have been born there and are now exploring their habitat.

A news release Tuesday said the twin black-and-white ruffed lemurs were born April 22 and began checking out the habitat this month. They’re a male and female named Gidro and Maki. Both names mean “lemur” in the dominant languages on Madagascar, where the tree-dwelling animals are from.

Adults have pointed black faces with fluffy white sideburns, and can weigh up to nine pounds.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature says their numbers are believed to have plummeted at least 80 percent over 21 years, mostly because of logging, slash-and-burn agriculture and mining. They’re also hunted as food.

The zoo has been trying to breed the lemurs since 2013, when mother Tahiri and father Gascar arrived.

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Online: www.AudubonNatureInstitute.org

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