Management and husbandry of ruffed lemurs, Varecia variegata, at the San Diego Zoo. III. Medical considerations and population management

Diane K. Brockman, Mary S. Willis, William B. Karesh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Medical aspects of maintaining the ruffed lemurs, Varecia variegata, at the San Diego Zoo and recommendations for population management of the species are presented. Common clinical problems include diarrhea, hair balls, chapped feet in young animals, and canine‐tooth abscesses. Congenital abnormalities in animals at San Diego involve scoliosis, incomplete skull formation, internal organ anomalies, and neuromuscular disease, all of which may be related to the small number of founders. Population‐management recommendations vary in complexity with the subspecies. Of primary importance for Varecia v. variegata is equalization of founder contributions and controlled breeding. Critical issues for Varecia v. rubra include acquisition of wild‐born stock, equalization of founder representation, increased population, and the location of captive habitat. The creation of four or five major breeding centers for Varecia is proposed; the centers would be designed to house wild‐born and underrepresented founder lines that could be genetically manipulated and rapidly expanded over a short time period. The creation of a self‐sustaining population of ruffed lemurs in captivity depends on international cooperation and the development of a ruffed lemur master plan.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)253-262
Number of pages10
JournalZoo Biology
Volume7
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • clinical problems
  • congenital abnormalities
  • population management
  • ruffed lemur

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology

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