Complete health assessments were performed on 22 adult red ruffed lemurs (Varecia rubra), comprising nine males and 13 females, found within the Masoala National Park in northeast Madagascar. Each animal was anesthetized using tiletamine and zolazepam and underwent a thorough physical examination, including measurement of its weight and vital signs; blood collection for hematology, plasma total protein concentration, serum chemistries, fat-soluble vitamins, trace minerals, assessment of iron metabolism, toxoplasmosis serology, viral serologies, and examination for hemoparasites; fecal collection for bacterial culture and parasite examination; and collection of a representative number of any ectoparasites. Comparison of blood values with those of captive lemurs demonstrated a number of significant differences thought to be associated with physiologic state (e.g., reproductive stage and stress), hydration, and diet. There was no evidence of serious infectious diseases, and hemoparasites were not detected. The enteric flora appeared unremarkable; however, results may have been skewed toward more cold-tolerant bacteria. The fecal parasite burden was low. Lemurostrongylus spp. was identified in two of the lemurs, and there were moderate numbers of Laelapidae mites present on approximately one third of the lemurs. This study demonstrated the substantial amount of data that can be collected from free-ranging populations, considered invaluable in the management of captive populations, in reducing the incidence of captivity-related diseases, and in the risk assessment associated with reintroduction programs.
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Vol. 39 • No. 1