When October comes around, people often think of fall, pumpkins and Halloween. However, there is another reason October is special. Every year on the last Friday in October, World Lemur Day is celebrated to raise awareness about lemur diversity and their incredible conservation needs!
Madagascar is the only place in the world in which the over 111 species of lemur can be found in nature. Unfortunately, due to threats like bushmeat hunting, deforestation and the pet trade, every single species is listed as endangered or critically endangered, making them the most endangered group of mammals on earth!
The good news? There are ways for you to help lemurs here at Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens and in the wild! We partner with organizations such as the Madagascar Fauna and Flora Group and are a member of the Lemur Conservation Network. Buying a ticket for admission or making a donation are great, easy ways to support lemur conservation.
The Zoo houses five species of lemurs that rotate through the Madagascar exhibit in African Forest, meaning you may see different lemurs there each visit! Our lemurs are a great representation of the diversity of lemur species. Breeding pairs that support Species Survival Plan populations include Blue-eyed black lemurs Hemsworth and Hendricks; Coquerel’s sifakas Gulliver and Aemilia; and Mongoose lemurs Ignacio and Olivia. Black-and-white ruffed lemurs Potter and Hawk are retired from breeding and live with their four youngest sons Aang, Zuko, Sokka, and Iroh. Last, but certainly not least, Ring-tailed lemurs Thessalus and Pharax (28 and 24 years old, respectively) get specialized geriatric care and monitoring by the animal care team.
We will celebrate World Lemur Day on October 29th with special enrichment for the 14 resident lemurs along with informative keeper chats. Paintings done by our lemurs will be sold in our gift shop to support our conservation partners and those that are interested can “adopt” a lemur to help with their care.