Stockholm bamboo lemur may rival Berlin polar bear

One of only 25 bamboo lemurs in captivity, who was rejected by his mother at birth six weeks ago, has passed his first tricky stages of being reared by humans in Stockholm zoo.

Handlers were not sure if Bilbo would accept the mixture of cat and baby milk they offered him, but zoo manager Jonas Wahlström says he is doing well.

“The first days were very delicate, we didn’t know if he would accept the food. We had to see if it was enough for him,” he said.

“Today, Bilbo is doing well. He is growing well,” he said, adding: “He has a 99 percent chance of survival.”

It remains to be seen whether Bilbo can command the same kind of affection as another baby animal, who was also rejected by his mother, in Berlin zoo.

Hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world have flocked to see polar bear cub Knut, and his face has sprung up on t-shirts, posters and even bank cards across Germany.

Bilbo is one of only three bamboo lemurs in captivity in Sweden — the other two being his parents — and only about 200 live in the wild in Madagascar, according to Wahlström.

“This is a very rare animal, that’s why we are working hard for him,” he said.

Bilbo weighs just 130 grams (4.6 ounces) but has grown from 30 grams three days after he was born.

Adult bamboo lemurs, who exist mainly on a diet of bamboo, grow to between 700 grams and one kilo (1.5 to 2.2 pounds), and live for about 22 years.

Now that his survival is assured, Stockholm zoo is trying to reintegrate Bilbo with his parents.

“We try slowly to put him together with his parents because it is quite important that he knows he is an animal and not a human being,” Wahlström said.

“We are slowly trying. He has to be in touch with his parents and grow up with them.”