The Lemurs Have Landed at the Calgary Zoo
Leap, learn and explore at the new Land of Lemurs habitat.
A bit of Madagascar has arrived in Calgary thanks to a new habitat dedicated to the island’s most famous inhabitant, the lemur. The primates have found a new home in the Calgary Zoo’s Land of Lemurs, the zoo’s first new habitat in five years.
Leap with the Lemurs
Intimate and immersive, the open-concept lets visitors get close to the animals in their natural environment, providing an opportunity to hang out with them (figuratively) while they hang out (literally), leap, eat, groom, and have treetop adventures.
When asked for advice on greeting these new inhabitants, Dr. Malu Celli, curator at the Calgary Zoo explains, “Lemurs are naturally curious, so visitors should be aware that the animals may come quite close to them. We like to use the “hula-hoop rule”— keep one hula-hoop between humans and animals. It’s a choice if the lemur comes closer and we ask that visitors remain respectful.”
Featuring black-and-white ruffed lemurs, red fronted lemurs and ring-tailed lemurs, this first-of-its kind experience in Canada provides a unique window into the animals’ daily lives.
A Helping Hand
When it comes to conservation, the fact is simple — lemurs need help. Currently, about 94 per cent of the 103 lemur species left on the planet are at risk of extinction, which likely makes them the most endangered group of mammals. Without help, the majority of them could disappear as early as 2050.
“One of the biggest threats to lemurs is habitat loss and fragmentation, so we are actively working to restore lemur-friendly forests in an area of Madagascar. We have set out to try and change those odds and we’re optimistic we can,” says Jana McPherson, Calgary Zoological Society conservation research senior specialist. “The new exhibit is a milestone for us and a great way to let Calgarians meet lemurs face-to-face, but it’s also intended to increase education around their plight and their homeland. Visitors will not only get to build emotional connections they’ll have a chance to learn about ways they too can help protect rainforests around the world.”
A Meaningful Partnership
Joining forces with the University of Calgary, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium and the Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership, the zoo is taking a multi-faceted approach to its conservation efforts, which include a $100,000 investment in reforestation, research, and ecological and population monitoring with an emphasis on improving capacity and employment options in Madagascar.
“As a result of slash and burn agriculture for subsistence farming, as well as illegal logging and mining, deforestation is the primary threat,” says McPherson. We’re trying to address the root cause by creating sustainable jobs for the people in the country, 92 per cent of whom live on just $2 per day.”
Want to learn more about these industrious – and adorable – lemurs? Spend some personal time with them at the Calgary Zoo’s Land of Lemurs, which is on now. You can get your tickets here.