Lemur parents have their hands full at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo, where five babies have been born in the past year inside the zoo’s newest exhibit, Madagascar! The little lemurs include three red-ruffed, one collared, and one Coquerel’s sifaka, all primates endemic to Madagascar.
“These births are testament that the Madagascar! exhibit is proving to be an ideal habitat for its inhabitants as they settle in and raise their young,” said Jim Breheny, the zoo’s director.
A new survey shows that human visitors to Madagascar! are also benefiting from the exhibit: They emerge as much more knowledgeable about the conservation issues facing this island nation off the coast of Africa. The survey, conducted by Randi Korn and Associates (partially funded by National Science Foundation), found that after experiencing the exhibit, the majority of visitors could explain the roles of scientists working in Madagascar and their effect on conservation. This is a significant shift, as prior to visiting the exhibit, only a third of visitors could express how conservationists protect Madagascar. Visitors also became more knowledgeable about the animals’ habits, environment, and endangered status.
“Our visitors enter the exhibit enthusiastic to see strange new animals, like lemurs and fossa, and emerge as citizen conservationists, as potential partners with WCS’s efforts to save wildlife and wild places,” said Breheny.
Madagascar!, a renovation of the Zoo’s historic landmark Lion House, also achieved a LEED Gold rating from the U.S. Green Building Council. This is the second highest rank given by the council, which encourages and facilitates the development of more sustainable buildings. WCS has been recognized with several design awards for the exhibit, including the New York City Municipal Arts Society’s Best Restoration Award, and Excellence in Exhibit Design from the American Association of Museums. The exhibit was made possible through generous funding provided by WCS public and private supporters.
WCS has worked to save Madagascar’s wildlife for nearly 20 years. Through its projects and partnerships, WCS is focused on protecting and managing a diversity of wild places in the country, including its largest remaining tract of rainforest, a quarter of its coastal forests, and its vast coral reef system.
Read the press release: Bronx Zoo's Madagascar! Exhibit Hosts Five Newborns in Its First Year