Eight lemurs and three tortoises are the creature features of the new Madagascar habitat at the Brandywine Zoo, which opened to the public on Friday.
The 4,000-square-foot exhibit is one of the Wilmington zoo’s largest display habitats.
“We are thrilled to welcome these animals to their new home and unveil this beautiful space,” Shawn Garvin, secretary of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, said at Thursday’s ribbon cutting. “Not only will the Madagascar exhibit provide a safe habitat for the animals, it will also provide an enriching environment where our visitors can learn about how humans can reduce our impacts to endangered species such as these.”
The zoo is managed by Delaware State Parks, a division of DNREC. That’s why the $3.5 million project – the largest capital improvement in zoo history – was funded by the State Bond Bill with a matching Land and Water Conservation Fund grant.
“I grew up coming to the Brandywine Zoo, and it has come a long way since then,” Gov. John Carney said. “I am thrilled we were able to revive this habitat space.”
The animals include three radiated tortoises; four ring-tailed lemurs from the Bronx Zoo; two black and white ruffed lemurs from the Duke Lemur Center; and one male and one female crowned lemur from Duke.
The animals, which prefer a subtropical climate, will be brought inside the zoo’s new holding area once temperatures fall below 45 degrees.
Just 30 crowned lemurs live in 12 sites in North America, and the goal is that two in Wilmington will breed.
The zoo offers three timed sessions each day, with admission free-$7. Visitors must register at the zoo’s site.