Visitors to Flamingo Land have been able to get their first glimpse of our new red-bellied lemurs. The two are now on public view in our lemur enclosure, along with our existing group of ring-tailed and black and white ruffed lemurs. Both of the new red-bellied lemurs are females; Poppy and Scarlett. Poppy is a young female from Cotswold Wildlife Park and Scarlett is an older female from West Midlands Safari Park. They have in fact been at Flamingo Land for a few months but because they are not related, they needed time to settle in and get to know each other before being introduced to our other lemurs.
We have 17 ring-tailed lemurs and two black and white ruffed lemurs at Flamingo Land, so Poppy and Scarlett are being introduced to the others gradually so that they don’t feel overwhelmed and to make sure that everyone gets along as well as possible.
At the moment the two new girls are in a separate part of the enclosure to the other lemurs. They are in the lemur house and have access to a fenced outdoor area; this is where visitors can see them exploring.
So far Poppy and Scarlett seem to be settling in well; they pop in and out of their quarters and seem very curious about their new home. They are still a bit timid and don’t spend long outside but they are getting braver every day.
Like all lemurs, red-bellied lemurs originate in Madagascar, where they would be found living in the rainforests in the eastern part of the island. They eat flowers, fruit, insects, leaves and nectar. The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists red-bellied lemurs as Vulnerable, meaning that they face a high risk of extinction in the wild. The main threats facing them are habitat loss as forests are cleared for logging and agriculture and hunting by humans. Ring-tailed lemurs are listed as Near Threatened, meaning that they are of less conservation concern than red-bellies but black and white ruffed lemurs are listed as Critically Endangered, meaning that they face an extremely high risk of becoming extinct in the near future.
Despite their name, if you come to see Poppy and Scarlett you won’t see a red belly at all. Both males and females have mostly brown fur and only males have red bellies. Females have creamy yellow fur on their undersides.