The Chester Zoo in England has welcomed rare ‘dancing’ lemurs into its conservation breeding program.
These lemurs were created to move!
The Chester Zoo in England stated on its Facebook page earlier today that it has welcomed a pair of extremely rare “dancing” lemurs as part of its conservation breeding effort to help save the species from extinction. Beatrice, a female, and Elliot, a male, traveled 4,000 miles from the Duke Lemur Center in North Carolina to England.
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These tiny dancers are known as Coquerel’s sifaka lemurs and are native to Madagascar. However, the zoo reports that, as a result of deforestation, the species’ population has shrunk by 80% in the previous 30 years. As a result, the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List now lists lemurs as severely endangered.
For more than a decade, conservationists at the Chester Zoo have been working to safeguard Madagascan species and their habitats.
“In 2015, the Malagasy government established The Mangabe New Protected Area, which is co-managed by the zoo’s field partner Madagasikara Voakajy and the communities that live in the Mangabe region, providing a safe haven for more than nine species of lemur, as well as many other threatened species living on the island,” the zoo wrote on Facebook.
The new conservation breeding program for Coquerel’s sifaka lemurs at the zoo is the first of its kind in the world. The Chester Zoo’s pair is also the first of their kind to set foot in Europe.
Holly Webb, Primate Keeper at Chester Zoo, told Storyful, “It’s a genuine, real honour to be able to care for this captivating species, and we’re sure that visitors to the zoo will adore knowing all about them.”
Sifaka lemurs from Coquerel are typically 18 inches tall with 18-inch tails. Sifaka lemurs, like other lemurs, like to hang out in trees; yet, their muscular legs allow them to cross distances of over 30 feet, and they move in a sideways gallop while on land, according to National Geographic. Beatrice and Elliot may be seen galloping around their new habitat in this video from the Chester Zoo.
Many Chester Zoo visitors are ecstatic to finally meet the couple.
“Wow, they’re incredible.” This is a condensed version of the information.