By Rebecca Fiedler
Many people typically wouldn’t pair the words Snickers and fuzzy together. However, the Snickers found at Cameron Park Zoo isn’t a furry candy bar – it’s a tiny baby ring-tailed lemur, born March 18. The baby has been out for the public to see as of Saturday, clinging to his mother’s tummy.
Born of a mother named Capri Sun and father named Sprite, Snickers joined the ring-tailed lemur family at the zoo after being kept in a special holding habitat with his mother for the first two weeks of life.
Soon Snickers will have a new cousin to join him. His pregnant aunt, Crystal Light, is due to give birth at the zoo a week from now.
Snickers hangs on to his mother’s tummy most of the time, said Terri Cox, program and exhibits curator at Cameron Park Zoo. In the next week or so he will begin to venture off of her, and the zoo will try to have him voluntarily step on a scale so they can weigh him.
“Capri Sun has been an excellent mother from the time the baby was born,” Cox said. “She has given him superb care, so we have not needed to interfere at all. We haven’t weighed the baby at this point because Capri Sun is taking such good care of him. He looks very healthy, and until she feels comfortable letting us handle him, we won’t try to.”
The pregnancy was planned by the zoo, as are most of the animal pregnancies. Cameron Park Zoo has species survival plans with all threatened and endangered species throughout, Cox said. The zoo partners with biologists and experts who come together and create breeding plans for each species.
Though Snickers has not been weighed yet, Cox said he is tiny.
“He’s a real cutie,” she said.
According to National Geographic, ring-tailed lemurs are an endangered species of primate. The species’ endangerment is largely due to habitat destruction caused by humans.
Though many of Cameron Park Zoo’s lemurs have snack food names, Snickers got his name for a special reason, Cox said.
“We named him Snickers because Waco’s candy company Mars Inc. has a new sustainable palm oil policy and is a member of the round table for sustainable palm oil now,” she said.
Cox said there is a global initiative for the use of sustainable palm oil that would keep many rainforest habitats from being destroyed. The zoo wanted to honor the candy bar company located in Waco that took steps to possibly save animal habitats. Crystal Lite’s baby will also be named after a candy bar, Cox said.
Waco resident Melodie Robison takes her infant granddaughter to Cameron Park Zoo, and took her there a week ago. Though she was unable to see Snickers, because he and his mother were still being kept off the main habitat, she said she is pleased with the zoo, and with the animals it has been obtaining over the years.
“They seem to be very progressive in improving the zoo,” Robison said. “I think they’re using their resources really well to create a place that people will want to be around for a very long time.”