Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance logo
San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance Library logo

Ring-tailed Lemur (Lemur catta) Fact Sheet: Managed Care

Managed Care

History in Managed Care

  • Europe
    • 1748: first living ring-tailed lemur
  • North America
    • Historical notes
      • 1901: first record of an individual in managed care
        • Housed at the Bronx Zoo
      • 1901-1926
        • Few individuals in North America
        • Housed at three zoos: Bronx, Philadelphia, and the National Zoo
      • 1927-1961
        • No records of ring-tailed lemurs in North American zoos
      • >1960
        • Increasingly common; now one of the most commonly housed lemurs

Husbandry and Breeding

  • Housing
    • Typically held in groups of 5-6
      • Reproduction less likely in smaller groups
    • Tame L. catta enjoy being petted and are affectionate to their keepers
  • Breed well in zoos
    • 120 born in ISIS zoos from June 2000 to December 2000
  • Most thoroughly studied lemur

Current North American Population (from Grand 2015)

  • 890 individuals, as of 20 Jan 2015
    • housed across 168 institutions
    • 437 males, 406 females, and 47 unsexed individuals

San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance

  • Historical notes
    • 1938: first ring-tailed lemur housed at the San Diego Zoo
    • 1972: first ring-tailed lemur housed at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park (formerly Wild Animal Park)
    • Zoological Society of San Diego exhibited L. catta beginning in 1938 (Zoo) and in 1972 (Wild Animal Park)
  • Current population (from ZIMS 2015)
    • San Diego Zoo
      • 2 individuals; one male, Matthew, and one female, Tweena
    • San Diego Zoo Safari Park
      • 7 individuals; 1 male, 5 females, and 1 unsexed
      • On exhibit in Lemur Walk
        • An immersive experience where guests can walk along a path inside the exhibit and watch lemurs frolic among the trees, branches, and path around them.

Ring-tailed Lemur

Ring-tailed Lemur

Ring-tailed lemurs are highly vulnerable to long-term habitat disturbances. Formerly designated as vulnerable, the species is now classified as endangered. Isolated populations generally have low density. Suspected population reduction of >50% is expected to occurr over three generations (c. 36 years).

Image credit: © San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance.
All rights reserved.

Page Citations

Altman, Doyle and Izard (1995)
Grand (2015)
Mittermeier et al. (1992)
Sauther (2002)
ZIMS (2015)

SDZWA Library Links