Just off the main path at the Zoo, guests may find themselves in our one-of-a-kind wellness inspired African Forest which contains the Madagascar exhibit. When first stumbling upon this off-the-beaten-path exhibit, guests are sure to notice the unique diversity of our five species of lemurs. From our blue-eye black lemurs, mongoose lemurs, ring-tailed lemurs, black-and-white ruffed lemurs and our Coquerel’s sifaka lemurs. Guests are sure to be drawn to these prosimians by their charismatic, acrobatic and sometimes silly interactions with not only each other, but also visitors.
Today, 98% of lemur species are threatened with extinction, with almost all lemur species listed on the Red List. Their decline is attributed to habitat loss, poaching and the pet trade. However, collaborative efforts are working to support people and communities to create long term solutions to help people and lemurs thrive. Through one of our conservation partners, Madagascar Flora and Fauna group (MFG), Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is contributing to help preserve these amazing species and the place they call home.
MFG is an international nonprofit, non-governmental organization that through collaborations with zoos, aquariums and related institutions, conserves Madagascar’s biodiversity. They support many different projects such as helping with the removal of invasive species (both plant and animal), conducting conservation research, providing outreach to local communities and much more.
Since 2016, Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens has been a contributing member for MFG. Most recently JZG was able to support the complete reconstruction of two lemur habitats in Parc Ivoloina on Madagascar. Parc Ivoloina is a zoological facility which only exhibits wildlife endemic to Madagascar, including ten lemur species along with amphibians and reptiles. The first habitat that was repaired with our funding was for a breeding pair of critically endangered blue-eyed black lemurs. The other is at the entrance to the zoo and is thus immediately visible to guests and forms their first impression of the zoo. All the lemurs at Parc Ivoloina are potentially able to be released back into the wild of Madagascar. With successful reintroduction, this would increase the number of lemurs for the individual species along with genetic diversity. With an increase in lemur populations the risk of extinction in the wild would dramatically decrease. This would also allow for future generations to experience just how important and special these animals are. Our support with MFG helps to protect a biodiversity hotspot with species that exist nowhere else in the world.
Learn more about our lemurs in our award-winning Madagascar exhibit and see our lemurs in action. Find out more about the 45 conservation programs we support or consider becoming a donor to help us carry out this critical work. Our Wellness team ensures that animals in our care are given the opportunity to thrive.