Akron Zoo mourns the passing of black and white ruffed lemurs


The Akron Zoo is sad to announce that its two black and white ruffed lemurs, Vari and Kondra, were humanely euthanized on Saturday, Oct. 20. Kondra was 29 years old and Vari was 28 years old. The median life expectancy for black and white ruffed lemurs is 18 years, four months.

The lemurs had been treated for age-related conditions over the past several years. Recently, Vari was diagnosed with cancer in her chest cavity and Kondra was diagnosed with cancer of the gallbladder. The veterinary staff treated both lemurs’ symptoms with pain medication and supportive care, but as the cancer progressed, the medication was no longer effective.

Kondra and Vari were sisters that were born at the Los Angeles Zoo. Kondra was born on April 16, 1989 and Vari was born on April 10, 1990. The duo came to the Akron Zoo in 1992 and were some of the longest residents at the Akron Zoo.

The black and white ruffed lemur is listed as critically endangered due to deforestation in the Madagascar rainforest. Lemurs are considered a food source by many in Madagascar and are hunted and trapped for food. The Akron Zoo supports field conservation organization, the Madagascar Fauna Group, which works to protect lemurs and other endangered species found in Madagascar through research, education and community programs.

The Akron Zoo also participates in the Black and White Ruffed Lemur Species Survival Plan (SSP) as an accredited zoo through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The SSP is a scientifically managed breeding program to create a genetically diverse population of endangered species across AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums.

The Akron Zoo remains home to two ring-tailed lemurs and four red ruffed lemurs, who will remain in the lemur habitat daily.