WATCH: New lemur enclosure at Marwell Zoo gets you up close and personal with the primates

THE weather may be hotting up, but those looking to experience some of Madagascan life will soon be able to thanks to a new zoo exhibit.

Thursday, 6th July 2017, 12:42 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th September 2017, 12:07 pm
Picture: Laura Soothill

Marwell Zoo has opened its Lemur Loop enclosure, allowing guests to get up close to the playful primates.

The new walkthrough will be home to four types of species which will be free to roam both the outdoor and indoor exhibit.

Primate keeper Amy Denny said: ‘It’s a really nice chance for the public to get up close to all of our species.

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Picture: Laura Soothill

‘All of our species are endemic to Madagascar, which means they only appear there naturally in the wild. They’re threatened as well so it’s nice that we can have the species on show.

‘The lemurs have got a lot of freedom, so they can choose to be in the inside or outside area.

‘Having people come through is a really nice positive stimulus for them, they find it just as exciting as we find it.’

Species include critically endangered Alaotran gentle lemurs and black-and-white ruffed lemurs, crowned lemurs and ring-tailed lemurs.

Picture: Laura Soothill

They have spent the last few weeks adjusting to their new habitat, with keepers working on their diets and spending time in the enclosure to help lemurs get used to share the space with people.

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.’

Staff will be on hand until 4pm each day to teach groups about the lemur troop and their habitats in the ‘Evolution Hub’ - which tells the story of lemur diversity.

The exhibit is part of a major £17 million investment for the zoo, which is seeing new and improved habitats built over 10 years.

Picture: Laura Soothill

The zoo’s chief executive James Cretney said: ‘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.’

The walkthrough opens to the public today, and will be open until December 31.

Picture: Laura Soothill
Picture: Laura Soothill
Picture: Laura Soothill
Picture: Laura Soothill
Picture: Laura Soothill
Picture: Laura Soothill
Picture: Laura Soothill