Lehigh Valley Zoo
May 18, 2023
The New Lemurs will Make Zoo Debut with the Grand Opening of Habitat Madagascar on May 26
(Schnecksville, PA) –Lehigh Valley Zoois excited to announce the arrival of two red ruffed lemurs, Weasley and Makira. The pair will debut at the public Grand Opening of Habitat Madagascar, the LV Zoo’s brand new, year-round lemur and tortoise exhibit, on Friday, May 26.
Male Weasley, age 5, is the more gregarious of the pair and is very vocal and displays inquisitive behaviors. Female Makira, age 6, is a bit shyer and more reserved, but her keepers say she is very sweet and gentle toward them.
Red ruffed lemurs are native to the island of Madagascar and are easily distinguishable from other species by their rusty red coat with black foreheads, bellies and tails. This species of lemur is critically endangered in nature and their wild populations are limited to a single small, protected area on the island of Madagascar.
“As we approach the end to what has been a three-year process, we are excited to officially unveil Habitat Madagascar to our guests and the Lehigh Valley community,” LV Zoo President & CEO Amanda Shurr said of the zoo’s biggest addition since bringing in Masai Giraffe in 2017. “We are excited for the addition of the pair of red ruffed lemurs to this habitat as they will be great ambassadors for their species and help us to further educate the Zoo’s guests about conservation. Additionally, this new habitat was designed to give us the ability to add additional species to Habitat Madagascar in the future.”
Weasley and Makira arrived at LV Zoo from Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium and Bronx Zoo, respectively. The pair were introduced to each other during a quarantine period when newly acquired animals are kept behind the scenes and their health and behavior is closely monitored. This quarantine period is used to make sure that animals are healthy and well acclimated to their new environment before being introduced to the rest of the Zoo and its guests.
Keepers at LV Zoo say the pair, a Species Survival Plan (SSP) approved breeding pair, are already getting along very well. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums‘ cooperatively managed SSP is designed “to manage a genetically diverse, demographically varied, and biologically sound population” of certain animals. The SSP pairs members of the same species at accredited zoos based on their genetics. Based on the recommendation of the SSP, LV Zoo’s animal experts hope the arrival of Weasley and Makira will lead to baby red ruffed lemurs that would be observable in the Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital Nursery located within Habitat Madagascar.
The red ruffed lemur pair will join the Zoo’s mongoose lemurs, breeding pair Abby and Mico, and the leopard tortoises, Horace and Autobahn, in the newly completed Habitat Madagascar exhibit building. This brand new modern habitat features several spaces for the Zoo’s lemurs and tortoises, including both indoor and outdoor spaces that will allow guests to observe the residents of Habitat Madagascar year-round, and a nursery habitat where mother and baby lemurs can bond without distraction from other animal residents. This 1,600-square-foot building will also provide behind-the-scenes living space for the animal residents when they are off-exhibit, as well as state-of-the-art climate control to ensure the optimum habitat environment year-round.
Habitat Madagascar opens to the public on Friday, May 26. The LV Zoo is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Guests wishing to greet Weasley and Makira on the opening day of Habitat Madagascar can purchase admission online at lvzoo.org.
This Grand Opening kicks off an exciting Memorial Day Weekend at LV Zoo, as Giraffe Feeding returns to its two normal time slots (11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; 2-3 p.m.) beginning on May 26 and the seventh-annual Red, Wine and Blue Festival takes place on Saturday, May 27, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
As a member-supported non-profit organization, Lehigh Valley Zoological Society was founded in 2004, but it has been treasured community landmark for centuries. Located in the Lehigh Valley’s Trexler Game Preserve, the mission of the Lehigh Valley Zoo is to connect its community with nature to empower people to protect wildlife. We have achieved our mission and educated more than five million people. Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the Lehigh Valley Zoo hosts year-round, family-friendly events and activities, educational programs, and camps. To learn more about Lehigh Valley Zoo, we invite you to visit our website, www.lvzoo.org, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.