Thu. Nov 26th, 2020

Isle of Wight Observer News

The Island's Free Newspaper

Isle of Wight Zoo home to the oldest lemur in the world?

2 min read

Animal Carer Gary claims to be caring for oldest living captive brown lemur in the world.

A leap year maybe unusual for some – but for Bella, who is rumoured to be the oldest living lemur in captivity it will be her 10th! On Sunday 1st March Bella will turn 38 years old. The zoo will be holding a special celebration at 10:30am where Bella will be presented with treats befitting a lady of such longevity – you are all invited!

With an average life expectancy of 20 – 25, Bella’s achievement is not to be taken for granted. Animal Carer Gary Harbor has been contacting other zoo’s worldwide to see if she may be the oldest brown lemur ever recorded with information coming back so far that the previous record was held by a mere 36 year old! Whilst many lemurs do live longer in captivity it is very unusual for one to reach this age and a testament to a life well lived.

Gary says: “Bella is an old lady who just wants the quiet life with her old friend Mclovin. She spends a lot of time in bed while its cold but can be seen in her window when the suns out!! She loves the sweet things in life, grapes and banana being the best. She was born in Cologne zoo in 1982 and came to the Isle of Wight Zoo in the early 90’s as part of a breeding successful programme being run at the time.”

Brown Lemurs are only found in scattered forest fragments on the high plateaus of western Madagascar. They eat mainly fruit, young leaves and flowers, and like many lemurs have a near threatened conservation status. The Isle of Wight Zoo currently homes seven species of lemur and is proud to demonstrate its dedication to their preservation and conservation through its support to a charity in Madagascar itself called the Madagascar Flora and Fauna Group.

In addition, to our Birthday celebration this weekend there’s a chance to enjoy some extra fun discoveries as our ‘Native Species’ month continues at the zoo. Build a snakes and toad tunnels board game in our Education centre, or peruse our native species exhibit in our PLUTO display. Around the zoo you can enjoy close encounters with fascinating invertebrates and reptiles; help feed pigs and goats; enjoy cuddles with guinea pigs and rabbits and finish up by making some glorious mud cake mess in the zoo’s mud kitchen!

Open daily from 10am, Isle of Wight Zoo can be found on the seafront at Sandown. For more details visit: www.isleofwightzoo.com