The Isle of Wight Zoo is dedicated to the preservation of animal species and the education of our visitors. Although we are best known for our collection of big cats we are also home to a large collection of primates and specialise in lemurs. These remarkable animals are only found wild in Madagascar, where an astonishing variety of species can be found. We currently have seven species of lemur at the Isle of Wight Zoo, four of which can be found at Lemurland, the area of the zoo devoted specially to them.
Did you know...?
If you love lemurs, you may be interested in our lemur feeding experience.
- Females are dominant in nearly all species of lemur.
- No one knows quite how many species of lemur there are. There are lots of disagreements amongst scientists!
- Lemurs are not monkeys, although they do share a common ancestor. Lemurs are classed as prosimians.
Black and White Ruffed Lemurs:
The black-and-white ruffed lemurs are the most critically endangered animals in the zoo. Small populations can be found in several areas of Madagascar.
Our black-and-white ruffed lemurs are mother and daughter.They can be very noisy animals - if they make an alarm call you can hear it right across the zoo. They also like to tell other animals off!
Liberty, or Libby for short, arrived at the Isle of Wight Zoo from Cricket St Thomas in August 2007. When she first arrived she was incredibly shy of people as she had previously not had much contact with them.
Now through lots of work and patience she has become much calmer and relaxed around her keepers, even allowing them to fuss her and scratch her under the armpit. Liberty currently lives with her daughter Lalaina.
Lalaina is Liberty's daughter, and was born in 2009. She is almost as big as her mother, and at times it can be difficult to tell them apart. Lalaina's personality gives her away, however, as she is extremely assertive and makes sure she gets first choice at dinner time. Fortunately her mother is extremely patient with her!
Ring-tailed lemurs come from Southern Madagascar. They spend most of their time in trees, although they do spend more time on the ground than any other lemur.
We have bred ring-tailed lemurs in the past, and may do again in the future.
Rejected at birth by her mother, Tanala, Mangoky was hand-reared by the dedicated staff of the Primate section. Right from the start she proved herself to be a determined little character, and has grown into as assertive but charming lemur who knows her own mind.
Her curiosity is insatiable and her antics as she fearlessly explores her surroundings are enchanting. Mangoky (Mango for short) is named after Madagascar's Mangoky River. The name was chosen by one of our young visitors .
Michelle arrived at the Isle of Wight Zoo on the 19th March 2002 with her sister Mimi and her companion Mifi, from Chester Zoo. After the birth of Michelle's first female offspring, Yolande, in 2003 she became the alpha female for about six months. This may reflect the status given to female offspring in this species or just an increase in confidence.
In 2004 Michelle gave birth to the zoo's first set of ring-tailed lemur twins, Berenty and Tanala, and proved to be an excellent mother.
Tsingy was born at the Isle of Wight Zoo and was raised by his mother Mimi. He is named after the spiky rock formation which occurs within the ring-tailed lemurs range and means "to tiptoe". He is the most timid of all the juveniles born in 2004 and likes to stay close to his mother at all times.
He is easily identified, as for some unknown reason he has green eyes instead of the normal amber. This does not seem to have affected his vision in any way.
Yolande was born at the Isle of Wight Zoo and raised by her mother Michelle. She is a very attractive, delicate female and can be distinguished by her black eye patches that are pointed towards her forehead. Although she spent her juvenile months terrorising the young males and taunting the adults she has now settled down in the group.
She is very affectionate to her keepers and often curls up and falls asleep in our arms. In 2004 she was allowed to assist in the care of the new offspring and was often seen carrying one of her mother's twins to help her out. Although she looked very proud this was an amusing sight as the young were nearly as large as her and would often make her lose her balance.
Yolande is very active and alert and she is normally the first to spot a potential threat. She is the only ring-tailed lemur to exhibit the long barking alarm call normally used against snakes. She is also very brave and will chase any intruding birds out of her enclosure.
Zebedee was born at the Isle of Wight Zoo and raised by his parent Mimi. At feeding time he is always the first to appear, demanding to be hand fed. He is somewhat of a loner and can often be seen enjoying his own company sunbathing.
He is a very affectionate lemur and enjoys spending time with his keepers.
White-Fronted Brown Lemurs:
These lemurs are also known as white-headed lemurs, because the males have a ring of white fur around their faces. They are found in north-east Madagascar, living in high trees.
Isabella was born in Cologne Zoo and her parents were part of the original group which formed the nucleus for the first White-fronted Brown Lemur Studbook. Isabella has had three babies whilst with us (Brown Lemurs usually only having one baby at a time).
Isabella has more grey colouring and her tail is shorter owing to a dislocation some years ago. She also displays prominent white patches above her eyes.
Mork was born in Cricket St Thomas. He shares his enclosure with Isabella. Mork is one of the most handsome of our lemurs with his stunning white ruff framing his face. He is a most gentle creature, greeting any member of staff with happy grunts - a common welcoming sound produced by Brown Lemur species.
Red Ruffed Lemurs
Except for their colouring, red ruffed lemurs are very similar to black and white ruffed lemurs. Found in north-east Madagascar, they are currently classed as endangered.
Andro came to us for hand-rearing, after he was rejected by his mother.
He lives with Bonnie, who came to us in Summer 2011 in order to keep Andro company.
As Andro has a number of health problems we will not be breeding from him, as it wouldn't benefit the Endangered Species programme.
Mongoose Lemurs are a brown, mid-size variety of lemur. Our Mongoose lemurs live together in a pair. The male, McLovin, was originally a victim of the pet trade, having been bought by a Polish sailor.
Black lemurs are energetic animals that love to bounce around the treetops. Despite their name, only the males are black - females are brown with a white ruff round their faces. At the Isle of Wight Zoo we have a breeding pair of black lemurs named Mitsio and Adala.They live with their daughter Antaly, who was born on April 20th 2011.
Grey Mouse Lemurs
Grey mouse lemurs are very small lemurs with big eyes. Our grey mouse lemurs currently live off-show as they are very shy!