The Curraghs Wildlife Park’s new attraction - ‘Lemurs of Madagascar’ - has been officially opened by the Isle of Man's Lieutenant Governor.
The new enclosure is home to five lemur species, all of which are endangered or critically endangered, due in large part to habitat destruction in their homeland of Madagascar.
His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor, Sir Richard Gozney, said:
'I am delighted to have opened “Lemurs of Madagascar”. I am sure that visitors will enjoy seeing the lemurs at close quarters and I hope that the experience will encourage greater interest in their conservation back in Madagascar.'
His Excellency is Patron of Isle of Man registered charity Supporters of the Curraghs Wildlife Park (SCWP). Members of the charity recently managed “Make a Difference” Days for Isle of Man bank staff which included helping with the construction of the enclosure.
SCWP Chair Kim Etherton said:
'helping to complete “Lemurs of Madagascar” meets our twin aims of making a difference for Wildlife Park animals and visitors. The lemurs are loving their spacious enclosure and visitors can really enjoy watching their antics.'
Along with the most recognised ring-tailed lemurs, the enclosure is home to both red and black and white ruffed lemurs, Aloatron gentle lemurs and a red- fronted lemur.
General Manager Kathleen Graham said:
'We have created a little slice of Madagascar in the Isle of Man and it’s a great day for the lemurs, our staff and our visitors.
'In the wild many lemur species have seen their numbers plummet by as much as 90% in the last decade due to hunting and habitat loss and all species are endangered or critically endangered.'
Geoffrey Boot MHK, Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture, added:
'A great amount of work has been undertaken by the Supporters of the Curraghs Wildlife Park to ensure the lemurs have a fantastic new home and I’d like to thank both them and staff at the park for all their work. The Wildlife Park does a great deal to protect endangered species and I hope that both the lemurs and members of the public enjoy this new area.'
Earlier this year the Curraghs Wildlife Park donated £1,500 to conservation efforts by the Durrell Zoo in Jersey to help conserve the wetland habitat of Lake Aloatra in the highlands of Madagascar.
The enclosure, which cost £120,000, has been planted to imitate the lemur’s homeland and will allow visitors to walk into it and see them at rest and play.