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Rare Bushbaby Makes Its Debut At Lincoln Park Zoo

(STMW) -- Lincoln Park Zoo has a new addition — a very tiny one — at its Regenstein Small Mammal-Reptile House: a Moholi bushbaby.

Bushbabies are tiny primates native to Southern Africa, and are exceedingly rare in zoos. The little one joins fewer than 20 bushbabies in zoos across the nation, according to a statement from the zoo.

The bushbaby, whose sex has not been determined, weighed less than 0.3 ounces at birth in mid-January and has only just ventured out of its nest. It appears to be in good health and developing, according to zoo staff, and in the past month has more than quadrupled in size.

"This birth is significant, both because the zoo population is so small and because it means our breeding pair here at Lincoln Park Zoo is a good match," curator Diane Mulkerin said in the statement.

"Unlike other primates, bushbabies do not hitch a ride with mom or dad," she said. "They stay hidden in the nest until they are strong enough to venture out and join in foraging for food, which, as we see with this youngster, happens at about one month old."

Bushbabies spend most of the day sleeping, because being active at night helps keep them safe from predators like large birds, snakes and mongooses. They are highly acrobatic with strong legs that enable them to spring around branches with ease, while comparatively long tails help them maintain balance. Large ears and eyes help see and hear predators.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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