Cotswold Wildlife Park’s Madagascar Exhibit Welcomes Four Newborns
Cotswold Wildlife Park is the new home to four baby Ring-tailed Lemurs. The youngest twins were born on 8th May 2014 to mother Ma and father Uba. The tiny babies are still clinging to their mother (pictured top left). The older playful twins were born at the end of March to mother Hira and Uba. They can be seen exploring their enclosure where they climb and leap off any surface available. Visitors can see the newborns in their new home, which they share with a troop of twenty other free-roaming Lemurs, including one of the rarest species on earth - the Crowned Sifaka.
Lemurs (Lemur catta) have a complex social structure. As is true of many species, some animals are outsiders and never quite fit into the group. Ma is a prime example. She came to Cotswold Wildlife Park from another zoological collection where she was very much the outsider. She struck up a close bond with a completely different Lemur species, a Crowned Sifaka called Youssou. The pair bonded and keepers have even seen the pair hugging.
Section Head of Primates, Chris Kibbey, said: “Ma is certainly an outsider in the group and arrived here with Youssou the Sifaka after she was pushed out of a previous Ring-tail group in another zoo. She still spends the evenings with Youssou and they get on very well. During the day, she generally keeps her distance but has integrated herself into the main Ring-tail group, so much so that the breeding male Uba successfully bred with her, resulting in the twins born on 8th May.” Chris added: “Lemurs are quite complicated animals and individuals do get pushed out of groups in the wild too. In these cases, they would travel around looking for a lone male to pair up with, or attempt to join another group.”
To highlight the plight of some of the most endangered Lemurs in existence, each year Cotswold Wildlife Park holds a week of Lemur themed activities. Now in its third year, Lemur Week (24th May – 1st June 2014) aims to raise awareness and funds for the Park’s conservation projects. Curator Jamie Craig is an advisor for these projects (pictured right on a recent trip to Madagascar). Visitors to the Park will have the chance to name the first set of adorable Lemur twins, as well as win a Lemur Encounter. Read more about the Park’s conservation projects here: http://www.cotswoldwildlifepark.co.uk/conservation.
These captivating creatures originate from the island of Madagascar, also referred to as ‘nature’s attic’, as it is home to many wonderful species which in other parts of the world would have become extinct . Sir David Attenborough described it as “one of the most fascinating islands in the world, with creatures found nowhere else on earth.” Madagascar defines ‘evolutionary distinctiveness’ as the vast majority of its species have evolved in splendid isolation. Most famous are the Lemurs, Madagascar’s unique primates, of which there are 86 known species, some on the verge of extinction. Habitat destruction is the main culprit.