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Gentle lemurs arrive in Devon

A pair of critically-endangered lemurs have arrived at Paignton Zoo in Devon.

With their thick, grey-brown fur and beady amber eyes, the Alaotran gentle lemur resembles a teddy bear in appearance. However, these small primates can be feisty in nature, and it is their Latin name Hapalemur which derives from the Greek word for “gentle”.

In the wild, the gentle lemur is the only primate that lives entirely in marshy habitat and can be found in reed beds around Lake Alaotra, in northeast Madagascar.

There are only a few of this species the UK, with all individual Alaotran gentle lemurs under the official control of the Madagascan government.  Female Rosie arrived at Paignton Zoo from Shaldon Wildlife Trust, with male Jim travelling from Hungary.

Paignton Zoo is already home to three species of lemur, but the pair will not be joining the ring-tailed lemurs, red-fronted lemurs and red-ruffed lemurs in Lemur Wood.  Curator of Mammals Lisa Britton explains: “They can be difficult to mix with other lemurs. Coming from marshy areas, they also have a different diet, so they’re going on the island that was once home to swamp monkeys.”

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