SIX extremely rare lemurs have been born at Chester Zoo.

The ring-tailed lemur babies include two sets of twins and the zoo's first ever baby black lemur are the latest arrivals at Chester.

All less than 15cm tall at birth, the babies weighed in no heavier than a tennis ball.

It will be some time before zookeepers will determined what gender the new arrivals are due to the fact they will travel around piggybacking on their mums.

Deputy curator of mammals Dr Nick Davis said: “Madagascar is a truly inspirational place; home to incredible, unique wildlife that cannot be found anywhere else on the planet.

"Yet we can report first-hand that we are on the brink of losing many of these species forever.

"Conserving Madagascar’s lemurs is urgent and critical.

"That’s why any birth is important, but to have six rare baby lemurs born within weeks of each other is great news for the breeding programme.

“The newborns are clinging tight to their mums right now; it’s a real family affair.

"They grow up quickly though.

"Within a few weeks, the little ones will start to climb on their own, eat solid foods and gain some independence.

"It’s going to be a magical spring and summer period watching their development.”

The births follow the creation of a new 6,000 sq m Madagascar zone at the zoo which recreated the dry forest habitat experienced by lemurs in the wild.

These ring-tailed lemurs live side-by-side with a group of critically endangered red ruffed lemurs in the zoo's first ever walk-through primate habitat.

Conservationists at the zoo have been fighting to protect habitats and species in Madagascar for around ten years

Chester Zoo’s conservationists have been fighting to protect habitats and species in Madagascar for nearly ten years and work with field partners Madagasikara Voakajy in the country’s Mangabe New Protected Area, in a bid to save this paradise and the unique range of animals that live in it.