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Red Ruffed Lemurs, Habitat Madagascar to Debut May 26 at Lehigh Valley Zoo | WDIY Local News

Contributed photo
Lehigh Valley Zoo
One of the endangered red ruffed lemurs that will be added to the Lehigh Valley Zoo's new exhibit, Habitat Madagascar.

The Lehigh Valley Zoo will soon open a new exhibit, and says two new residents will make their debut at the same time.

The zoo said its new, year-round lemur and tortoise exhibit Habitat Madagascar will hold its grand opening on May 26.

The the zoo also announced the arrival of two red ruffed lemurs – 5-year-old Weasley and 6-year-old Makira – who will be making their debut alongside Habitat Madagascar.

According to a release, Weasley came from Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, while Makira came from the Bronx Zoo. They were introduced to one another behind the scenes during a quarantine period, and zoo officials say they have been getting along well.

Red ruffed lemurs are distinguishable by their rusty red coat and black foreheads, bellies, and tails.

They are also critically endangered, with the wild population limited to one small, protected area on their native island of Madagascar.

The zoo said their two new lemurs are an approved breeding pair under the Species Survival Plan, which is cooperatively managed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and hope their arrival will lead to more baby red ruffed lemurs.

The SSP is intended to “manage a genetically diverse, demographically varied, and biologically sound population" of certain animals.

The program pairs members of the same species at accredited zoos based on their genetics.

Weasley and Makira will join the Lehigh Valley Zoo’s mongoose lemurs, the breeding pair of Abby and Mico, as well as leopard tortoises Horace and Autobahn in the new 1,600-square-foot exhibit building.

Habitat Madagascar includes several spaces for lemurs and tortoises, including both indoor and outdoor observation spaces, and a nursery habitat.

It also provides a behind-the-scenes living space for the animals when they are off-exhibit, as well as new climate controls to ensure the optimum habitat environment year-round.

“As we approach the end to what has been a three-year process, we are excited to officially unveil Habitat Madagascar to our guests and the Lehigh Valley community,” Lehigh Valley Zoo President and CEO Amanda Shurr in a statement, adding that the new exhibit is the zoo’s biggest addition since introducing the Masai Giraffe in 2017.

“We are excited for the addition of the pair of red ruffed lemurs to this habitat as they will be great ambassadors for their species and help us to further educate the Zoo’s guests about conservation.

"Additionally, this new habitat was designed to give us the ability to add additional species to Habitat Madagascar in the future.”

(Original air-date: 5/20/23)

Sarit "Siri" Laschinsky is WDIY's News and Public Affairs Director.
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