Wildlife park celebrates Lemur success

By Amanda Wilkins - 24 May 2024


Cotswold Wildlife Park will host its annual conservation event - ‘Lemur Week’ from 25 May - 2 June, to highlight the plight of the world’s most endangered Lemurs.

The aim is to raise awareness and funds to help save the world’s most endangered Lemurs in their native homeland of Madagascar.

Just ahead of ‘Lemur Week’, the Primate team have announced two new additions to its ever-growing Lemur troop - the birth of Ring-tailed Lemur twins.  These new arrivals bring the total number of Lemur breeding successes in the Park’s walk-through Lemur exhibit, Madagascar, to an impressive 70 since it officially opened in 2008.

As part of ‘Lemur Week’, visitors will have the chance to name the new Ring-tailed Lemur twins, as well as take part in a variety of Lemur-themed activities and learn more about these charismatic primates.

The playful siblings were sired by breeding male Bernard who arrived at the collection in May 2021. He immediately bonded with dominant female Hira. Both are part of a European Breeding Programme (EEP).

Section Head of Primates, Small Mammals and Birds, Natalie Horner said: “Hira’s latest arrivals are her 18th and 19th youngsters within her impressive reproductive history here at the Park - an amazing achievement for this experienced and attentive mother.

"If we look at our Lemur births at the Park over the years, this year our total has come to 70 Lemur births across several species. This is an incredible achievement and is testament to the dedication of our keepers and the Park’s commitment to the European Breeding Programme (EEP)”.

The youngsters can be seen exploring the large open-air Lemur exhibit Madagascar - home to 31 free-roaming Lemurs and bird species native to the island of Madagascar.

In recent years, Cotswold Wildlife Park has achieved breeding success with two incredibly rare Lemur species – Greater Bamboo Lemur (Prolemur simus) and Crowned Sifaka (Propithecus coronatus). Both are classified as “Critically Endangered” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

In 2017 Cotswold Wildlife Park made history when it became the first zoological collection in Great Britain to successfully breed Crowned Sifaka. The Park is also the only zoological collection in the world to have bred Greater Bamboo Lemurs in the last twelve months. In fact, this is the fourth consecutive year that the Primate team has managed to breed this threatened species. With only 32 animals in captivity worldwide, every breeding success of this rare primate is very important.

Jamie Craig, General Manager of Cotswold Wildlife Park, said: “Lemur species in Madagascar are under tremendous pressure from habitat destruction and the rapidly rising human population. It is vital that we raise awareness for this unique group of primates before it is too late.

"At Cotswold Wildlife Park, we are committed to conserving this species and we fund an extremely important site in Madagascar, as well as participating in several other conservation projects with the Cotswold Wildlife Park Conservation Trust – most notable for the Crowned Sifaka and Greater Bamboo Lemur.

"We are extremely privileged to keep both of these species at the Park - they are extremely rare in captivity and they are fantastic ambassadors for our fundraising efforts”.

“The work of the project Helpsimus has directly led to the Greater Bamboo Lemur being removed from the World’s 25 Most Endangered Primate list - a real achievement. Our work with Sifaka conservation has led to several new sites being identified and protected”.

All funds raised during ‘Lemur Week’ will go directly towards Lemur conservation.

For more information and to book tickets visit: @cotswoldwildlifepark.

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