Micke Grove Zoo recently announced the arrival of the newest member to the zoo family, ‘Mayka’ a Black and White Ruffed Lemur, now on display in the Madagascar Island Exhibit. Mayka is a 19-year-old female on loan from Bramble Park Zoo in South Dakota. She has been paired with ‘Lokobe,’ the zoo’s 22-year-old male who lost his partner to cancer, and so far, they’re hitting it off.
“We could not have asked for a better match,” said Zoo and Interpretive Services Manager Trish Jackman, noting that staff have been working with conservation partners to find Lokobe a new mate.
Known for their very loud calls, which attracts the other lemur species, Red Ruffed and Ringtail, Mayka and her new partner have been sharing food bowls, grooming and resting together. Zoo officials said in each other, they have found a perfect senior partner to spend their golden years with.
Indigenous to the island of Madagascar, Black and White Ruffed Lemurs are endangered due to habitat loss yet play an important role to their environment. As they eat fruits, they defecate the seeds and help disperse them to ensure new plant growth. Lemurs also play a critical role in preserving both island and inhabitants as they educate and inspire the preservation of wild spaces worldwide.
Micke Grove Zoo, part of Micke Grove Regional Park, is open Wednesdays through Sundays. Zoo hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; last admission at 4:30 p.m.
Zoo admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children over two years of age. Vehicle entry to Micke Grove Park is $5 weekdays and $6 weekends and most holidays. Micke Grove Park and Zoo is located off Armstrong Road, west of Highway 99, between Stockton and Lodi. For additional information call 209 331-2010.
“Matchmaking is just as difficult for primates as it can be for humans. It took more than seven months to bring his new partner here to the Micke Grove Zoo,” Zoo Manager Trish Jackman explained of finding a partner for Lokobe. “She was living at the Bramble Park Zoo in South Dakota where she had birthed and raised many males and was now living alone instead of with a large group of bachelors. Once all the documents were in order and transport was arranged, we met Mayka, our beautiful new female Black and White Lemur. After her health check period, it was time to introduce the two for the first time.”
Jackman said the zoo’s previous female was “quite dominant” with Lokobe so officials didn’t know how he would react having been alone for so long.
“Mayka had also been alone so there were no predictions on how they would behave. We started with caging between them and except for one attempt to let him know she was in charge, she sat calmly near the mesh so she could be close to Lokobe. However, our poor male expected the worst from her and every time she approached the mesh, he would scream and run away,” noted Jackman. “It took a few days for him to calm down and sit next to her but it indicated to us that they were ready for a full introduction. We opened the doors prepared for anything but all we witnessed was a very gentle approach from both of them.”