Cleo the Lemur Gives Birth to Stillborn

When staff at the Topeka Zoo and Conservation Center confirmed with ultrasound that Cleo, an eleven year old black and white ruffed lemur, was pregnant, they were excited. The pregnancy was Cleo’s first. Cleo was pregnant with multiple babies. The excitement turned to sadness late Saturday evening as Cleo gave birth to a motionless baby.
As her due date approached, Cleo began spending more and more time in a nest box last Tuesday. A camera was placed near the box and staff began making periodic night time checks. Around 8:00 Saturday evening, Cleo gave birth to the first baby. When the baby appeared to be motionless, staff began to intervene.
Once it was determined that the baby monkey was stillborn, attention was focused on Cleo. Ultrasound confirmed that there was at least one more heartbeat in Cleo’s uterus. A radiograph confirmed three remaining babies inside Cleo.
Cleo was given a medication to help stimulate labor. After 90 minutes had passed with no further delivery progress, the decision was made to do an emergency caesarian section. Two of the remaining three had died in utero. One was born with a heartbeat but never took a breath. Each baby had some sort of abnormality.
Cleo continues to recover from her surgery and is doing well. She is getting extra of her favorite fruits. She will continue to stay at the Zoo’s hospital for another five to seven days so that her incision and medication intake can be monitored.
“It was a very sad night Saturday for the staff that were here taking care of Cleo and for our entire team as the news spread,” said Zoo Director Brendan Wiley. “We were all really looking forward to this birth. I am always amazed at what our staff accomplishes and the efforts they give to the animals that live here. The compassion that they displayed during this event was incredible.”