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To Save Some Species, Zoos Must Let Others Die

from the New York Times (Registration Required)

ST. LOUIS -- With fluorescent yellow eyes and tufts of hair sticking straight up behind their ears, Bonner and Etienne look like slightly crazed old men. These riotous and chatty lemurs--known for elaborate rituals that include grooming and braying--once ranged across eastern Madagascar.

Now scores of these black-and-white ruffed lemurs are being bred here at the St. Louis Zoo and at other zoos across the United States as part of a broader effort to prevent their extinction.

But Ozzie, a lion-tailed macaque, will never father children. Lion-tails once flourished in the tops of rain forests in India, using their naturally dark coloring to disappear into the height of the jungle. Though there are only about 4,000 remaining in the wild, not one among Ozzie's group here in St. Louis will be bred. American zoos are on the verge of giving up on trying to save them.

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