Nashville Zoo Celebrates Birth of Critically Endangered Red Ruffed Lemur

Nashville Zoo is excited to announce the birth of Helios, a male red ruffed lemur born on March 27.

Nashville Zoo is excited to announce the birth of Helios, a male red ruffed lemur born on March 27, weighing in at 130 grams (around a 1/4 pound). The baby was born to second-time mom and dad, Phoebe and Emilio. The Zoo's primate team reports that mom and baby are doing well and will continue to live behind the scenes until the baby is large enough to move outside.

Helios is the Zoo’s second successful red ruffed lemur birth in the past year, bringing the total number red ruffed lemurs in the Zoo's care to five, including the baby. Nashville Zoo participates in the Red Ruffed Lemur Species Survival Plan® which helps to ensure genetically diverse populations amongst this species in human care.

The red ruffed lemurs at Nashville Zoo all have Greek-inspired names. "We decided to name our newest addition Helios, god of the sun," said Primate Supervisor Brittany Canfield. "Red ruffed lemurs are typically born at night, but Helios was born during the day with lots of white markings around his face."

Red ruffed lemurs (Varecia rubra) are only native to tropical lowland forests of Madagascar. They have a rusty red coat with black and white accents. Their diet consists mainly of fruit and sometimes leaves, seeds, and nectars. In the wild, red ruffed lemurs spend most of their time in the treetops socializing with other red ruffed lemurs and can produce up to 12 different communication calls. They are considered critically endangered due to habitat loss. In addition to breeding efforts, Nashville Zoo donates to Madagascar's SAVA Conservation Project, an organization working to preserve Madagascar's biodiversity through educating local communities. To learn more about Nashville Zoo's conservation efforts, visit

About Nashville Zoo

Nashville Zoo is a nonprofit organization and an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, exemplifying the highest standards of animal care and husbandry. The Zoo is actively engaged in conservation research, habitat protection, breeding programs, and education initiatives in our backyard as well as around the world. With support from the Nashville community, donors, and sponsors, the Zoo is ranked the number one tourist attraction in Middle Tennessee and welcomes more than 1.4 million guests annually. Nashville Zoo is located at 3777 Nolensville Pike just six miles south of downtown. For more information about Nashville Zoo, visit