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While the pandas are all the rage at The Calgary Zoo, there is another black-and-white critter that you’ll love to visit. The Land of Lemurs exhibit has brought these furry and adorable African animals together for Calgarians to learn and enjoy from. The lemurs were chosen as a way to educate the public and help conserve these very endangered species. The Calgary Zoo will also be working on lemur reforestation and repopulation projects in their native Madagascar.
The Land of Lemurs exhibit opened in 2017 and took over four years to come to fruition with 40,000 workers hours to complete construction. The Calgary Zoo worked closely with other zoos around the world to find the right group of lemurs to bring to Alberta. There are over 100 species of lemurs in the world with 13 types currently in zoos. Ultimately, three species were brought to Calgary: the black-and-white ruffed lemur, the red-fronted lemur, and the most commonly recognized ring-tailed lemur.
While easy confused with monkeys, the lemur is a completely separate type of primate. The animals are only found in Madagascar. Their diet consists primarily of plants and fruit, which is vital for the natural ecosystems where they live. Lemur scat (aka poop) contains seeds that grows new trees and keeps Madagascar’s forests growing. With continued deforestation of the lemurs’ natural habitats, the loss of lemurs will have a negative impact on many aspects of the Madagascar environment. This is why the Calgary Zoo is taking part in a community conservation project along with the University of Calgary, the Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership and Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium to protect lemurs in the rainforests of Kianjavato, Madagascar.
At this lemurs exhibit at the Calgary Zoo, you’ll be able to take part in the first immersive lemur experience in Canada. Unlike most of the Zoo’s animals, the lemurs are not hidden behind glass for viewing. The 1.3 acre display includes a barrier-free section to allow visitors to get up close and personal with the lemurs. A special moat island has been designed to house the lemurs in the outdoor enclosure. A double gate system is in place to allow visitors in and out in small groups. Simple ropes designate the visitor areas as the lemurs are able to walk in and among the Zoo’s guests. You can get close, but no touching the lemurs!
The area is a fun and interactive way to see the lemurs as they climb on the ropes, walk the logs and come over to say hi. When you visit, you’ll have to keep out any food, drink, or loose clothing that the lemurs might want to pull on. Warning – be careful when they climb the ropes above you to avoid any lemur poop scenarios! Also another good reason to not let them get to close to you as they wander through their home. In the winter, the lemurs spend their time in their indoor building where they also sleep at night.
If you haven’t had a chance to see the Land of Lemurs yet, be sure to take a trip down to the Calgary Zoo to see these adorable creatures in person.