Wander through the Madagascan world of the lemurs in a walkthrough experience that will have you gasping with joy as lemurs leap from the tree tops. Meet our endangered Ring-tailed lemurs and our critically endangered Black-and-white ruffed lemurs and learn more about the cheeky characters at the Ranger Talk. Lemur Woods is an acre in size with over 20 trees – so the area the lemurs have can be looked at as a 3 dimensional cubic space – they use all the space!
Endemic to Madagascar, Ring-tailed lemurs are easy to spot due to their long, striped black and white tails. Thought to have floated to Madagascar on rafts of vegetation millions of years ago, lemur’s like many of Madagascan species have evolved very differently to other animals around the world due to Madagascar’s isolation. A fun fact for all the ladies out there, it is actually the females that are dominant in lemurs.
Ring-tailed lemurs use their distinctive tails to to communicate with each other, they will also use them in “stink battles” by rubbing scents on their tails and flicking them at other lemurs.
Ring-tailed lemurs spend a lot of their time on the ground (as you might notice when you are at the park) foraging for fruit, leaves, flowers, sap and tree bark to eat.
BLACK-AND-WHITE RUFFED LEMURS
One of the largest species of lemur in Madagascar and the largest at YWP, Black-and-white ruffed lemurs are critically endangered in the wild. They communicate with each other using sounds and scents. If you are lucky enough, you will hear their calls ringing out across YWP, they are thought to be the second loudest primate in the world (after howler monkeys).
They also use their big bright yellow eyes to convey messages to other lemurs. Black-and-white ruffed lemurs will have keep their young in a nest and are though to be the only primates in the world to do this.
The Yorkshire Wildlife Park Foundation awarded a 3 year grant of £5,000 a year to help establish and run a protected reserve to help save the blue-eyed black lemur from extinction. Slash and burn land clearing and hunting in its native Madagascar have reduced numbers to less than 1,000 in the wild with experts facing a race against time to save it. The grant will support lemur conservation projects including protection of the blue-eyed black lemurs’ habitat, education of the local communities, developing eco-tourism and promoting research and studies of the animals in their native habitat.
The project is run by the AEECL (Association Européenne pour l’Étude et la Conservation des Lémuriens), a charitable consortium of European zoos and universities, dedicated to lemur conservation. It works in the remote north-west reaches of the Indian Ocean island Madagascar. It has a permanent research station in the region and collaborates with the local Malagasy communities to develop conservation, build schools, fund schoolteachers, restore forests and improve the economy.
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