While visiting the Zoo, you’ve likely spotted our 11 ring-tailed lemurs and three red ruffed lemurs hopping around Expedition Africa. Today we are celebrating World Lemur Day by highlighting our work with these amazing—and endangered—primates both here at the Zoo and abroad.
Although we do not currently breed lemurs, we contribute to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plans by housing single-sex groups, which consist of individuals who are either not of reproductive age or have not been approved for breeding. By housing these animals, we are making a vital contribution to the long-term survival and genetic diversity of their species.
In addition to aiding in the management of lemurs in human care, we have supported in situ lemur conservation through our Quarters for Conservation and Wildlife Emergency Fund initiatives. In both 2016 and 2017, we provided funding to Conservation Fusion, an international nonprofit that inspires conservation for lemurs and other Madagascan wildlife through community education. In 2018, we supported Madagascar Wildlife Conservation, an organization dedicated to ensuring the survival of the critically endangered Lac Alaotra bamboo lemur. We have also supported Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and Turtle Survival Alliance, both of which help protect other aspects of Madagascar’s ecosystems—ultimately benefitting lemurs.
Lemurs are among the most threatened mammals in the world. There are around 100 known lemur species, all of which are found on the island of Madagascar. Both ring-tailed lemurs (which are endangered) and red ruffed lemurs (which are critically endangered and restricted to one protected area) are threatened by habitat loss and human hunting for food and the pet trade.
World Lemur Day may only come once per year, but you can help lemurs every day by spreading the word about these incredible species or contributing to an organization that supports lemur conservation, such as the ones listed above!