Lemurs explore the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo’s Madagascar Exhibit, which will be closed until early June to allow the animals to settle into their new home. *Photo by  Dr. Ian Walker

Lemurs explore the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo’s Madagascar Exhibit, which will be closed until early June to allow the animals to settle into their new home. *Photo by Dr. Ian Walker

TUESDAY, MAY 29: Three new Bermuda residents—a trio of ring-tailed lemurs—are getting used to their home inside the Madagascar Exhibit at Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo.

The Zoo’s free-flight, walk-through exhibit will be temporarily closed to the public until early June while the lemurs settles into their new surroundings.

“We are delighted to add these fascinating creatures to this world-class exhibit so that our visitors, particularly students and children, can see and learn about the endangered animals of Madagascar and other threatened islands,” says Dr. Ian Walker, BAMZ Principal Curator. “We ask people to be patient while these animals get comfortable inside the exhibit before it is re-opened to visitors.”

The lemurs—a male called Elmer and two unrelated sisters, Petunia and Penelope—came from Sacramento Zoo in California, where they had lived together as a family unit. “They are very comfortable around people,” says Dr. Walker, adding there are no plans to breed the lemurs.

Madagascar: Land of Mystery and Wonder opened last November—the first large new exhibit in a decade at BAMZ, underscoring the facility’s mission “to inspire appreciation and care of island environments.” It was funded by lead sponsor HSBC in partnership with the Bermuda Government, Bermuda Zoological Society (BZS), the Department of Conservation Services, plus corporate and private donors.

The exhibit links Bermuda’s own conservation challenges with those of Madagascar—where a majority of plants and animals are found nowhere else on earth. Lemurs are one of Madgascar’s endemic animals—with an astonishing 80 different species, ranging from tiny pygmies to child-size creatures. Lemurs live in many regions of the Indian Ocean island, but their habitats are fast disappearing.

The Zoo exhibit showcases Madagascar’s diversity by highlighting features such as caves, a waterfall, wetlands, and the limestone fortresses of the biodiverse northern Tsingy region. The three new lemurs can roam freely on the exhibit’s large shady trees and impressive rockscapes that are fashioned to mimic the cathedral-like limestone towers of the Tsingy region.

Other compelling species already featured in the exhibit include tiny mantella frogs, tomato frogs, ground boas, endangered radiated tortoises, African helmeted turtles, buttonquails and a cat-like fossa—Madagascar’s top predator.

“The introduction of lemurs to the Madagascar Exhibit adds another dimension to what we hope will be an educational and entertaining attraction to residents and Bermuda visitors,” says Walker.

BZS is the support charity for Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo, funding a full slate of education programmes, conservation and research projects, exhibits and community outreach events. BAMZ is a Bermuda government institution within the Department of Conservation Services.