Reply by, Leslie Field, Animal Care Supervisor
(in response to question below)
We agree that the Ring-tailed lemur exhibit is outdated. As an 80-year-old Zoo, exhibit designs have changed since this was originally built around 50 years ago. We are challenged to find new ways to work with existing structures and we plan for future renovations.
Ring-tailed lemurs are more terrestrial than other lemur species and the Zookeepers change furniture and platforms from time to time and provide enrichment to encourage this natural behavior. In the Spring and Fall a good deal of sun gets through for sunbathing and their exhibit is one of the coolest in the Zoo when its 105 degrees outside in the Summer.
Renovating or expanding this exhibit is on our long range planning list and would include a complete rebuild of the existing structure. One big project currently underway is a brand new giraffe barn and exhibit renovation. We hope to have that complete in 2010 and will continue renovating older exhibits around the Zoo.
I have a question about one of your lemur exhibits. While the exhibits for the black and white ruffed lemurs and the sifakas seem to be very enjoyable for them, I was disheartened to see the ring-tails in their small shaded enclosure with a dirt floor. They weren't very active and one of them had to manuever quite a bit just to capture a little patch of sunshine! From reading the blog, I discovered that their enclosure was recently renovated with added platforms. But for a lemur species that spends a good amount of time on the ground as well as a good amount time sunbathing, it just seemed as if neither one of those items were as well addressed as they should be. Are there plans to further renovate or expand their enclosure?
Thank you for your time!