The Land of Lemurs exhibit opened at the Calgary Zoo on Wednesday and is the first new major habitat for the facility in five years.

Lemurs are only found in Madagascar and are one of the world’s most endangered primates.

Zoo officials say the number of critically endangered lemur species has risen from 11 to 24 in recent years and endangered lemur species rose from 16 to 49.

There are 103 lemur species in existence and about 94 percent of those are in danger of extinction. Wildlife experts think they could be extinct in the wild by 2050 if their status doesn’t change.

About 80 percent of Madagascar’s original forest has been depleted, mostly by slash and-burn agriculture, illegal logging and mining practices, and the loss of habitat continues to be a major threat.

“We are so excited to open this unique experience for our visitors; it combines our expertise in conservation and visitor engagement,” said Dr. Clément Lanthier, President and CEO, Calgary Zoo. ‘Lemur are critically endangered.”

The zoo’s new barrier-free exhibit hopes to teach visitors how they can help protect lemurs and their habitats.

Land of the Lemurs is located in Destination Africa and features an outdoor walk-through so visitors can view the animals up close as well as two outdoor and one indoor habitat.

The 1.3 acre facility will house 13 lemurs of three species; black-and-white ruffed, ring-tailed and red fronted.

The zoo and University of Calgary are working together to help protect lemurs and their lands through community conservation programs including:

  • Funding community owned tree nurseries to support reforestation efforts.
  • Support local field technicians for long-term lemur ecological and population monitoring.
  • Fund green technology items including; solar lighting, water filtration and highly-efficient appliances to link conservation to human well-being.

“Madagascar is a biodiversity hotspot with many species and is the only place in the world where lemurs are found. It is clear that a solution requires efforts that simultaneously help wildlife and the people of Madagascar and our work on the island nation will help to link conserving lemurs with helping local communities thrive,” said Lanthier.

For more information on Land of Lemurs, click HERE.