NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell and Member for North Shore Jillian Skinner today officially opened Taronga Zoo’s new lemur exhibit.
Mr O’Farrell said the Lemur Forest Adventure exhibit aims to replicate the lemurs’ natural habitat on the island of Madagascar, off the east coast of Africa.
“I’m pleased to welcome Taronga’s eight new residents to their spectacular new home that includes more than 5,000 trees and plants from Madagascar,” he said.
“Lemurs in the wild are endangered, particularly by forest clearance, so this exhibit increases awareness about protecting the species, made famous by movies such as ‘Fierce Creatures’ and ‘Madagascar’.
“Eight bachelor lemurs are exploring their new forest home. Four primates have arrived from Taronga Western Plains Zoo at Dubbo, the rest have arrived from Italy.
“This adds to the Zoo’s long list of exhibits that bring people up close to wildlife to explain the importance of conservation and species management.”
Mrs Skinner said the Lemur Forest Adventure recreates a Madagascan forest and has opened just in time for the school holidays.
“This is a modern and interactive exhibit made up of a forest path and a custom-built playground with complex climbing structure that enables young visitors to mimic lemurs’ climbing behaviour,” Mrs Skinner said.
“The final part of the exhibit, a walk-through path allowing visitors to walk among the lemurs, is scheduled to open at Easter 2014 to give the animals a chance to get used to the presence of humans.
“Many Australians will never get to see these incredible animals in Madagascar so seeing them here at Taronga will surely delight visitors young and old.
“This is a world-class exhibit at Taronga, which recently won Gold in the Best Attraction category at last month’s NSW Tourism Awards,” Mrs Skinner said.