Taronga has welcomed the arrival of five striking Ring-tailed Lemurs from Taronga Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo.
Primate Keeper, Katie Hooker, said: “We are really excited that visitors can now see lemurs at Taronga Zoo. They’re amazing ambassadors for the diversity of unique wildlife isolated to the island of Madagascar. Around 80% of Madagascar’s plant and animal species are found nowhere else on Earth.”
Ring-tailed Lemurs are known for their prominent feather-like black and white-banded tail which they raise above high into the air when effortlessly pouncing through their forest and cliff habitat.
“They each have very different personalities and can be cheeky from time to time.” Katie said.
“Our male bachelor group ranges in age from 10 to 13 years old. These groups are often formed in the wild when mature males are between female-dominated harem societies.”
“One of their most famous traits is the way they warm up in the sun. They will often all sit with their chests facing the sun and have their arms out to each side as if they are meditating. It’s great to see.”
Habitat loss and hunting are of the biggest concern for the species. Clearing forests for agriculture and grazing has forced the lemurs shrinking forests of the South and South-West of Madagascar.
“In the wild Lemurs eat fruits, leaves, flowers, bark and herbs.”
“At Taronga their diet will include a large selection of fruit and vegetables as well as a variety of different leafy branches that they will also eat.”
Taronga Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo has also received a group of Ring-tailed Lemurs from a zoo in Hong Kong as part of the regional breeding program for the species.
“They are already off to a great start with one of the females giving birth just after arriving in Australia,” said Katie.
Visitors are able to see these animated primates pounce through the branches, walk upright along the ground or warming up in the sun by dropping by the lemurs’ exhibit next to the Western Lowland Gorillas.