Chester Zoo has become the first in Europe to breed a rare ‘dancing lemur’.
The baby Coquerel’s sifaka was born with a fluffy white coat and weighed just 119 grams after a 130 day pregnancy to parents, Beatrice and Elliott.
The pair, both 10-year-old lemurs, arrived at the conservation from the US just 18 months ago to begin a new breeding programme, designed to protect the critically endangered primates from extinction.
The ‘precious’ young ‘dancing lemur’ — a nickname given for the way they swing and move on their hind legs — will cling to its mother’s belly for a number of weeks before it will then ride on her back like a backpack until it is around six months old, experts say.
Zookeepers will determine the sex of the tiny primate once it starts to branch away and explore on its own. Currently, only seven of the rare primates are cared for in three zoos in Europe, and the family-of-three based at Chester are the only Coquerel’s sifaka to live in the UK.
Conservationists at the zoo say the birth is a ‘landmark moment’ for the species that is on the brink of extinction in the wild.
Mark Brayshaw, Curator of Mammals at the zoo, said: “It’s really exciting to be the first team of conservationists in Europe to successfully breed this unusual and extremely rare primate. While it’s still early days, both mum and baby are doing great.”
He continued: “Beatrice is feeding her new arrival regularly and is keeping it nestled in her fur as she leaps from tree to tree. In a few weeks’ time, the baby will graduate to riding on her back, before branching out and learning to climb trees independently at around six months old. It won’t be long until this bright-eyed baby will be bouncing 20ft between tree to tree just like its parents.”
The adorable creatures are native species to North West Madagascar and typically hide and swing in treetops. However, they have seen an 80% decline in their population over the past three decades due to manmade deforestation.
As a result, the world’s authority on the state of nature, The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), upgraded the species to its highest conservation priority in 2018 and listed the primates as critically endangered in the wild.
Mike Jordan, Director of Animals and Plants at Chester Zoo, added: “The birth of a Coquerel’s sifaka in Europe is a real landmark moment for conservation and, importantly, has kickstarted the endangered species breeding programme in European zoos for the species – which could be the lifeboat that prevents them from becoming wiped out completely.
“Mass deforestation has swept across the island of Madagascar and it has lost up to 90% of its forests, taking with it thousands of species. But we refuse to let the devastation continue and our conservationists have helped our partners Madagasikara Voakajy – an NGO based in the heart of the island – to develop an official protected area spanning 27,000 hectares of forest, which is home to some of Madagascar’s most precious species.
“While the situation is now quite desperate, it’s the knowledge, skills and expertise gathered by experts at conservation zoos like ours that will play a vital role in preventing the extinction of highly threatened species, just like the Coquerel’s sifaka.”
Find out more on the Chester Zoo website.
Aldi named cheapest supermarket as it takes back crown from Lidl
Aldi takes back the top spot
Budget supermarket Aldi has reclaimed the title of cheapest supermarket for November, overtaking Lidl.
With the festive season here, Brits are continuing to look for ways to keep household costs down – and Aldi shoppers can be confident they’re getting the highest quality products at the lowest possible prices.
According to the latest Which? report, Aldi is once again the UK’s cheapest supermarket – with an average basket total coming to £76.77.
Each month, the consumer group compares the price of 131 groceries and household essentials across UK supermarkets to see which are the most and least expensive to shop at.
The latest research from Which? shows that throughout November Aldi was a huge £20.62 cheaper than the most expensive supermarket, Waitrose – for an equivalent basket of items.
Which? also revealed Aldi to be £12.77 cheaper than Morrisons and £11.02 cheaper than Sainsbury’s per basket.
Aldi also beat bargain rival Lidl to top spot, relegating the German supermarket to second place – where an average shop came in at just slightly more than Aldi, at £77.56.
Asda came in third place averaging at £84.42 per basket, Tesco fourth with an average £87.42 a basket and Sainsbury’s took fifth place at £87.79.
The most expensive supermarket was Waitrose where the average basket of shopping costs £97.39 – £20 more than shopping at Aldi.
But the popular supermarket can celebrate not one but two wins as it was also named the cheapest place to buy a Christmas dinner.
Comparing the cost of Chrimbo dinner staples including turkey, pigs in blankets, and Christmas pudding Aldi was found to be 4p cheaper than Lidl and £18 cheaper than the most expensive supermarket.
Julie Ashfield, Managing Director of Buying at Aldi, said: “Christmas can be an expensive time for everyone, with gifts to buy and families to feed.
“We’re thrilled that at such a crucial time Which? has officially named Aldi as the cheapest supermarket demonstrating our commitment to providing our customers with high quality food at everyday low prices.”
The Alien Eggs from the ‘90s that people were convinced could really give birth
Aliens invaded the playground
Those who went to school throughout the ’90s and early noughties will remember the little Alien Eggs you could buy from the shop that supposedly gave birth.
Kids would gather in the playground to show off their pet aliens, claiming that they had given birth to tiny alien babies. But not just one birth, multiple births to multiple babies.
Others would wonder and marvel as they hoped that their pet aliens would also do the same.
Conspiracy theories spread like wildfire across UK playgrounds with kids claiming theirs gave birth after ‘putting them in the fridge’ or ‘running them under water’.
Some kids would swear blind their Aliens were making babies. But did they really reproduce? Or was it just a myth?…
The squishy figures came in a plastic egg that fit in the palm of your hand and contained two aliens smothered in a gooey gel. They were a bit gross to be fair but kids were absolutely obsessed with them.
The weirdly fascinating Alien Egg launched in 1999 and was created by Martin Grossman, who got the idea in a ‘3am brainwave’, according to Vice.
By Christmas that year, he had already sold three million of the toys, and rumours about their ability to reproduce had taken over schoolyards across the nation.
Even the newspapers were jumping on the playground rumour bandwagon.
The Guardian reported in 1999 that a cleaner had found one in a tube station and mistaken it for a foetus. According to reports, he called emergency services and ambulance crews turned up to transport the supposed foetus to hospital where a doctor examined it to be sure.
Kids spread further rumours that the tiny jelly figures would open their eyes and come to life at the turn of the millennium, but that didn’t happen.
The ’90s was one strange era and the public had a weird fascination with all things extra terrestrial. Kids grew up on movies like Men In Black and Independence Day and listened to ‘Spaceman’ by Babylon Zoo.
People were watching Mulder and Scully come across unexplained happenings in the X-Files – popculture was rife with Aliens. Also, everyone was convinced that all computers would completely malfunction with a ‘millennium bug’ in Y2K.
As the clock struck midnight and 2000 came in, the world did not fall apart and the apocalypse did not come. Things just carried on. The only difference was you wrote ‘2000’ in the top corner of your school books instead of the 90-somethings you’d been used to.
And as for those Alien Eggs many of us were convinced could give birth, even into our adult lives, LadBible attempted to discover the truth (after all, the truth is out there).
They spoke to Julie Pittilla – who did PR for the Alien Egg since the start – who told them that the toys sold incredibly well, but as to whether they could give birth, it was ‘really out of the knowledge of mere humans’…
Expert reveals best time to see ‘impressive’ full Beaver Moon in sky tonight
This ‘impressive’ full moon is set to light up the sky tonight
As the temperature has noticeably dropped and winter is well and truly here, an eerie-looking full Beaver Moon will illuminate the foggy night sky tonight.
Tonight (November 27th) will be a full Beaver Moon and this striking vision will be visible in the sky from the late afternoon as evenings are now getting dark much earlier.
This full Moon is extra special as it marks the last one before Christmas and the penultimate of 2023.
This winter full moon’s name is believed to be derived from the time of year when beavers retire to their dens in anticipation of the winter months, as they gather and store their supplies.
It is also believed some Native American tribes as well as American colonists called the November full moon the Beaver Moon because this was the time to set beaver traps before the swamps froze, to ensure a supply of warm winter furs.
An alternative name for November’s full moon is the Frost Moon, which was also coined by Native Americans – which makes sense as the winter frost begins to set in.
The best time to see tonight’s dazzling display will be just after the Moon rises, while it is still close to the horizon and appears to be much larger than normal.
Dr Baskill, astronomer and lecturer at the University of Sussex, told BBC Science Focus: “You have a second opportunity to admire the full Moon hugging the horizon when it rises in the north-east as the Sun sets later that same day.
“Full Moons always occur when the Moon is on the opposite side of the sky to the Sun, and it is fully illuminated by sunshine – which is where the name ‘full Moon’ originates.”
As the Moon rises above the horizon it may appear larger than normal, although this is just an optical illusion.
However, Dr Baskill promised it would be an ‘impressive sight when it’s low on the horizon’.
The typical northern weather may make the full Beaver Moon less visible in the sky as cloud cover obstructs our view. However, we may still be able to catch a glimpse of this spectacular sight with the odd break here and there.
Stargazers across Manchester, parts of Wales and the South West may stand a good chance with clearer skies than London and the South East – as these areas have been told to prepare for wet weather.
Aside from the skies, stargazers will probably want to wrap up warm as they look out at the impressive moon, as temperatures are expected to drop to 5C.
Beaver Moons happen in November, making the next one not until around this time next year – so remember to look up and don’t miss out!