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7 July 2017, 07:53
A new attraction's opening at Marwell Zoo near Winchester - allowing visitors to walk through the lemurs' enclosure and watch them up close.
Lemur Loop is part of a £17 million, ten-year investment at the zoo.
The new walkthrough is home to four different species of lemur. Critically endangered Alaotran gentle lemurs and black-and white-ruffed lemurs and endangered crowned lemurs and ring-tailed lemurs are joined in the exhibit by a new species for Marwell - two endangered green peafowl.
Marwell says: 'Guests can enjoy sharing the beautifully landscaped habitat of these engaging animals in a new, themed exhibit at the giraffe house, focussing on the evolution of the species. The new experience, with both indoor and outdoor sections, will immerse visitors into a densely planted lemur environment.'
The Madagascan creatures have spent the past few weeks settling into their new environment, which aims to closely resemble their natural habitat, encouraging them to leap, climb and sunbathe freely as people walk alongside them.
Animal Collection Manager Ross Brown said:
"We've designed the enclosure in a way that promotes natural behaviours, which is a key part of it".
Ross and his team have also been taking a close look at the lemurs' diets as the different sub-species have distinct requirements. Alongside this the groups have also gradually been getting used to sharing their space with people, with members of staff spending increasing amounts of time in their enclosures to 'test the waters'.
Zoo staff will be on hand every day until 4pm to teach groups about the loveable lemur troop and their habitats in the 'Evolution Hub'; from learning about the story of lemur evolution and diversity, to taking part in observation and skills-based activities.
Visitors to Marwell Zoo can already meander among marsupials in the Wallaby Walkthrough and enjoy close-up views of diverse birdlife in the walkthrough aviary.
James Cretney is Chief Executive Officer at Marwell:
"We are thrilled to open this fantastic new exhibit, which is part of a £17 million ten-year investment programme for the zoo. The programme will create new and improved habitats for the animals and offer more immersive experiences for our guests.
"I'm looking forward to seeing lots of guests, young and old, enjoying the unique encounters in the Lemur Loop over the summer and beyond."