Lehigh Valley Zoo
June 2, 2021
|(Schnecksville, PA) – The Lehigh Valley Zoo is excited to share that we are moving forward with the construction of a new habitat for our Mongoose Lemurs and African Leopard Tortoises! This modern habitat, dubbed Habitat Madagascar, will provide both indoor and outdoor living space for these animals, as well as additional behind-the-scenes living space for the animals when they are off-exhibit. The 1,600-sq-ft building will be climate controlled to ensure the optimum environment for the lemurs and tortoises year round, and our animals will be able to spend time in their outdoor habitat during the warmer in-season months at the Zoo.
During the colder months of the year, our lemurs and tortoises will also be able to be viewed by guests in the indoor exhibit space. This indoor space will include a separate “suite” which we hope will be occupied by future lemur mom and babies! Our goal is to provide our lemurs, a potential breeding pair named Abby (age 5) and Mico (age 6), with a habitat conducive to breeding where guests will also get a close-up look of our newest additions. This multiple-species exhibit will be built to the standards of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the Zoo’s accrediting body, and will provide a space in which guests may observe Mongoose Lemurs and African Leopard Tortoises living together as they would be in the wild.
Mongoose Lemurs are considered critically endangered according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List. Human activity is negatively impacting lemur populations and their habitat on the island of Madagascar is diminishing at an alarming rate. It is estimated that about 1-2% of Madagascar’s forests are destroyed each year, and currently only about 10% of Madagascar’s forests remain. Slash-and-burn agriculture, clearing land for cattle, and charcoal production are destroying these precious forest ecosystems. By establishing a breeding exhibit, the Zoo will be helping to contribute to the survival of this species into the future.
In addition to habitat destruction, both lemurs and tortoises are poached by people in the wild and sold, in some cases, into the illegal exotic pet trade. The exotic pet trade puts both animals and humans at risk through the spread of zoonotic diseases. The Zoo hopes to provide messaging within the lobby of this new exhibit that highlights all of the challenges facing lemurs and tortoises and educates our guests on how to better support species to ensure their future survival. Along with this educational messaging, the indoor lobby will feature an ornate 10-foot donor wall where we will display the names of all of our generous supporters who helped make Habitat Madagascar possible. Lastly, the indoor lobby will also be accessible for small gatherings or events, which will help generate revenue that will ensure the sustainability of this exhibit well into the future.
Individuals and organizations wishing to contribute to Habitat Madagascar can do so by visiting our website at LVZOO.ORG/MADAGASCAR. All individual donors who contribute at least $500 or corporate sponsors that contribute at least $2,500 will receive a spot on our donor wall in the form of a custom laser-engraved wooden tile to be added to our landform mosaic of mainland Africa and the island of Madagascar.
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, we have educated and entertained 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. Through a mission to create a safe, engaging and enlightening wildlife experience for guests of all ages, the Zoo demonstrates leadership in the cultural, scientific and conservation communities. To learn more about Lehigh Valley Zoo, we invite you to visit our website, www.lvzoo.org, or follow us on Facebook @LVZOO.