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A week of fun activities to mark World Lemur Festival at Banham Zoo and Africa Alive! has serious conservation message

PUBLISHED: 11:58 30 October 2017 | UPDATED: 11:58 30 October 2017

Banham Zoo celebrating World Lemur Festival. Education officer Charli Evans with one of their Lemurs. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Banham Zoo celebrating World Lemur Festival. Education officer Charli Evans with one of their Lemurs. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2017

With their big eyes and fluffy features it is not hard to see why lemurs are honoured with their own festival.

Banham Zoo celebrating World Lemur Festival. Bobby Smith, 9, with one of the Lemurs.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY Banham Zoo celebrating World Lemur Festival. Bobby Smith, 9, with one of the Lemurs. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Banham Zoo and its sister park Africa Alive! have both been celebrating everything lemur as part of the World Lemur Festival.

The primates are a popular attraction among the visitors to both zoos - which house 10 different species between them.

Half-term fun activities, including lemur face painting, and special feeding talks have been held to give children and their families a chance to get up close to and learn more about the very interesting animal.

However, there is a serious side to the festival, which aims to raises awareness of the conservation of lemurs.

Banham Zoo celebrating World Lemur Festival. Education officer Charlotte Blyth feeding the Lemurs. Picture: ANTONY KELLY Banham Zoo celebrating World Lemur Festival. Education officer Charlotte Blyth feeding the Lemurs. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Sara Goatcher, education coordinator at Banham Zoo, said: “The feeding talks give our guests the chance to see our amazing lemurs up close and discover some fascinating facts about their incredible adaptations.

“It also gives us the chance to tell our guests about Banham Zoo’s conservation partners, including the The Lemur Conservation Association (AEECL) and how we can all help to protect lemurs in the wild.”

MORE - Banham Zoo director meets the Princess Royal during Madagascan conservation trip

Banham Zoo celebrating World Lemur Festival. 
Picture: ANTONY KELLY Banham Zoo celebrating World Lemur Festival. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Native to Madagascar, more than 100 species live on the island located off the east coast of Africa.

Although a primate is like monkeys and apes, Lemurs evolved separately from other species because of their isolation on the island.

Both zoos, which are run by the Zoological Society of East Anglia, have supported AEECL for a number of years.

Banham Zoo celebrating World Lemur Festival. Animal keeper Lucas Atkinson with one of their Lemurs.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY Banham Zoo celebrating World Lemur Festival. Animal keeper Lucas Atkinson with one of their Lemurs. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The organisation’s efforts to conserve lemur species within the Sahamalaza Iles Radama National Park are vital in the fight to save them from extinction.

Banham Zoo’s director of conservation and education Gary Batters is the organisation’s president.

The red-ruffed lemur, found at Banham Zoo, the mongoose lemur, housed at Africa Alive!, and the black and white ruffed lemur and blue-eyed black lemur, which are at both parks, are all on the critically-endangered species list.

A number of other species are classed as endangered or vulnerable and this due to a number of factors including habitat loss, hunting and logging.

Banham Zoo celebrating World Lemur Festival. Education officer Charlotte Blyth feeding the Lemurs.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY Banham Zoo celebrating World Lemur Festival. Education officer Charlotte Blyth feeding the Lemurs. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

For more information about AEECL and its conservation work to protect the lemurs click here

Banham Zoo celebrating World Lemur Festival. 
Picture: ANTONY KELLY Banham Zoo celebrating World Lemur Festival. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Banham Zoo celebrating World Lemur Festival. Bobby Smith, 9, with one of the Lemurs.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY Banham Zoo celebrating World Lemur Festival. Bobby Smith, 9, with one of the Lemurs. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Banham Zoo celebrating World Lemur Festival. 
Picture: ANTONY KELLY Banham Zoo celebrating World Lemur Festival. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Banham Zoo celebrating World Lemur Festival. Education officer Charlotte Blyth feeding the Lemurs.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY Banham Zoo celebrating World Lemur Festival. Education officer Charlotte Blyth feeding the Lemurs. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

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