Lemurs from NYC join BAMZ exhibit
Three frisky siblings have journeyed from New York to a new home in Bermuda.
The red ruffed lemurs have joined the ring-tailed lemurs already resident in the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo’s Madagascar exhibit.
The new residents roam free alongside their ring-tailed relatives, which means visitors will be able to “come within a whisker” of them.
Atticus, a male, and two females – Scout and Finch – were all named after characters in Harper Lee’s bestselling book To Kill a Mockingbird, later made into an Oscar-winning movie.
The red ruffed lemurs came from the Bronx Zoo in New York in October and completed a 30-day quarantine period before they could explore their new surroundings.
A BAMZ spokeswoman said: “When the decision was made to transform Madagascar into a multi-species exhibit, the BAMZ registrar conducted careful research to determine the best species to place with resident ring-tailed lemurs.
“Using the recommendation list from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the red ruffs were chosen.
“As the red ruffs are predominantly arboreal creatures, meaning they prefer to reside in the trees, and the ring-tails have more terrestrial behaviours, the hope was that the different species would occupy the different areas of the exhibit, leading to an amicable cohabitation.”
The spokeswoman said the new arrivals would be carefully looked after and fed a balanced diet to to keep them in tip top condition.
She added: “Here at BAMZ they are fed a specialised diet to keep them healthy and happy which consists of special vitamins and nutrients as well as fruits and vegetables such as apples, pears, bananas, grapes, melons, greens, sweet potatoes, cabbage, broccoli, carrots and corn.
“Like the ring-tailed lemurs, red ruffed lemurs are social animals and live in small family groups.
“They do everything together, from foraging for food to cuddling together at night. Lemur families spend a lot of time grooming each other and are considered very clean creatures.”
Red ruffed lemurs are only found in rainforests on the north-eastern side of Madagascar.
They grow to be about 20 inches tall, have a tail that can grow nearly 24 inches long, and weigh between 5.7lbs and 9lbs.
The primates get their name from the deep red colour of their soft, woolly fur.
Their diet in the wild covers a wide range of foods, from flowers to bugs.
The animals on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List as critically endangered.
The spokeswoman added: “Unfortunately, their habitat is now limited to a small 840-square-mile stretch of protected forest that is home to all remaining wild red ruffed lemurs – an estimated 1,000 to 10,000 individuals.
“Habitat loss is the main cause of endangerment of all lemur species … caused by human industries, such as logging and mining, as well as hunting and slash-and-burn agriculture, the technique of burning down acres of rainforest for farming.”
The BAMZ exhibit also gives information about what can be done to help protect lemurs and their habitat.