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[Zoonaute news] Look out, lemurs about. First glimpse of new home at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo


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[Zoonaute news] Look out, lemurs about. First glimpse of new home at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

Message par Yoan le Dim 27 Oct 2013, 14:43

Publié le 12 avril 2013

Six ring-tailed lemurs have had the first glimpse of their new island home at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo after travelling almost 200 miles from the Netherlands

The girls – called Chloe, Hannelies, Daphne, Helene, Naomi, and Pien – have been busy exploring their brand new island, complete with trees, logs and climbing ropes for them to scamper across.

Designed especially for the new arrivals, the island lets the feisty females exercise their natural foraging and acrobatic behaviours, mimicking the unique island of Madagascar from where lemurs originate.

Keeper Hayley Jakeman said: “The girls were a bit cautious to start with but it only took one confident lemur to lead the way - once she ventured out onto the island, the others soon followed and there was no stopping them.

“All six of them are really enjoying exploring their new home and have been spotted climbing high up in the trees, leaping about and enjoying the sunshine; it’s fantastic to see them settling in so quickly.”

Ring-tailed lemurs are under threat in the wild and it is hoped that Whipsnade’s new arrivals will be joined by a group of males in the future to become part of the European Breeding Programme.


Ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta)
- Whipsnade’s six lemurs are an important part of the ESB (European StudBook) for ring-tailed lemurs.
- ESBs are managed by the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA) and collect data on births, deaths and transfers from all zoos, wildlife parks and aquariums that keep the species in question.
- The data is entered in special computer software programmes, which allow the studbook keeper to carry out analyses of the population of that species to maintain a healthy population.
- ZSL Whipsnade Zoo is a member of the Madagascar Fauna Group which works to conserve lemurs and other wildlife in Madagascar through breeding programs, field research programs, training programs for rangers and wardens, and protecting native habitat in Madagascar.
- The ring-tailed lemur is found in the dry forests and bush of southern and south-western Madagascar.
- They are very agile and can move from branch to branch easily using their long tails for balance. They are capable of jumping several meters from one tree to another, using their muscular back legs to push off the tree.
- They also use their long black and white tail (which is almost twice as long as its body) as a communicator; the striking colour helps them make visual signals to others, while a tail raised high gives the signal ‘follow me’.
- Today ring-tailed lemurs are under threat as a result of hunting, habitat destruction and microclimatic change and are listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List.
- It is thought that when humans first arrived on Madagascar around 2000 years ago there were around 50 species of lemurs, yet today there are only around 35.

"Si les abeilles disparaissaient, l'homme n'aurait plus que quatre années à vivre"; Albert Einstein

« Le but d'un zoo est de ne pas tenir des animaux, mais d'assurer le futur des espèces »

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