DZG’s decade of Lemur Wood

DZG is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its first walkthrough exhibit Lemur Wood, a one-acre paddock where visitors come face to face with free-roaming lemurs.

And one decade on, the hit attraction is still our most popular exhibit and arguably one of the best of its kind in the country.

DZG Keeper Zoe Taylor and Senior Keeper Simon Moore celebrate 10 years of Lemur Wood

The woodland home to 18 lemurs, where the animals can climb, run and jump around visitors, opened to the public in April 2005.

Since then dedicated DZG staff have gone on to develop three more impressive walkthrough exhibits – Monkey Tails, Wallaby Walkthrough and Penguin Bay.

Zoo Director Derek Grove, who led the team which designed and built the innovative lemur attraction, said: “Lemur Wood gives our visitors a unique close encounter with many endangered species.

“During its construction we had to take a lot of height off some of the mature trees and over the years these have spread out to create a wonderfully natural exhibit which works for both the visitors and the lemurs.

“This very successful design has remained our most popular exhibit throughout the ten years and we’re incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved.

“It has to be one of the best in the country.”

As well as using existing trees and undergrowth, more than 100 trees and 300 shrubs were planted in 2005 which today have matured into a leafy, pleasant walkthrough.

At the time Lemur Wood cost £38,000 and included a generous donation from Wednesbury-based firm Rubery Owen Holdings Ltd.

ABOVE: Leafy Lemur Wood – Plants and trees have matured over time to create a natural exhibit

Inside the attraction, keepers inform visitors about lemurs and how we work on conservation programmes to ensure the survival of the species in their native Madagascar.

At the end of last year, DZG also signed up to a £5,050 education programme on the island to fund nine primary school teachers over the next five years.

Lemur Wood today houses nine ring-tailed, four black and white ruffed, two black and three collared lemurs.

Our ring-tailed lemurs are called Lokobe, Fianar, Percy, Lucky, Caramel, Revel, Sid, Eddy and Scotty.

The four black-and-white ruffed lemurs – which are listed as Critically Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) – are Ely, pictured right, Porthos, Zeb and Yella.

Florence – who was born in Lemur Wood – and Bryan are our two black lemurs and the collared lemurs are called Barney, Egor and Pipkin.