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New lemur exhibit opening 26 July 2005

    New Lemur Exhibit Opening At 2 pm on Saturday 30th July, the new gentle lemur exhibit is to be opened at the Curraghs Wildlife Park by Alex the Lion out of Madagascar.

    In the new film, Alex and a group of his friends from Central Park Zoo are shipwrecked on Madagascar where they meet genuine wild animals, including various lemurs, unlike their pampered friends from the zoo. British zoos and parks have arranged a mutual publicity campaign with UPI, the film’s distributors, because lemurs, nearly all of them endangered, are found only on the island of Madagascar.

    The Curraghs Wildlife Park was recently chosen by Jersey Zoo, the gentle lemur studbook keepers, to join in the international breeding programme for this rare species.

    The Alaotran gentle lemur is one of the rarest primate species in the world and is the only primate known to depend exclusively on swamps for its habitat. It lives in the reed beds around Lac Alaotra, the largest lake in Madagascar, where it eats shoots and leaves of reeds and papyrus in the swamps.

    With less than four thousand surviving in the wild, this attractive species is losing its habitat as the swamps are drained to make rice paddies. Although illegal, it is also hunted for food.

    General Manager, Nick Pinder, explained; “This is an ideal species for us to become involved with since we focus on wetland species where possible. We’re very pleased to have been chosen to participate in the breeding programme and hope that soon our pair will have offspring of their own that we can then send on to another park to increase the breeding pool. It used to be thought that these animals were a sub-species of the bamboo-eating gentle lemurs but recent work indicates that they are a species in their own right. Its important that we do what we can to help save these gorgeous animals from extinction”.

    Alex the Lion will be at the Curraghs Wildlife Park from 1.30 pm and will perform the opening ceremony at 2 pm. The new gentle lemur exhibit is between the African Bush and European Marsh zones of the Wildlife Park.

    26th July 2005

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