CZAAWE Resource Article

Body weights of ruffed lemurs (Varecia variegata) in European zoos with reference to the problem of obesity
Publication Type 
Journal Article
Year of publication 
Zoo Biology
Abstract 10.1002/zoo.1026.abs Qualitative observations in several European zoos revealed a high proportion of obese individuals in different species of lemurs. This phenomenon was examined in both subspecies of the ruffed lemur (Varecia variegata variegata and Varecia variegata rubra). Data on body weight were obtained from 43 animals in 13 European zoos and were compared with body weights of wild ruffed lemurs. The captive individuals’ mean weight was significantly higher than either of two different samples of wild V. variegata variegata. Using a weight-based definition of obesity, 46.5% of the individuals in our sample were obese. Neither significant differences in body weight between the two subspecies nor between sexes could be found. Body weight did not correlate with age. The findings are discussed with reference to the feeding ecology of ruffed lemurs and their nutrition in captivity and to implications for captive breeding programs for this species. Zoo Biol 20:261–269, 2001. © 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.