Lemurs are loving their new home as visitors return to Ponderosa

Lemurs are reputed to be the world’s oldest living primates, native only to the island of Madagascar and a species said to be 65 million years old.

Monday, 19th April 2021, 3:00 pm
Zookeeper Amy Armitage at Ponderosa Zoo in Heckmondwike, which re-opened last week after the Covid-19 lockdown. The zoo has just unveiled its new Lemur walkthrough enclosure, Lemur Lookout.

And now these old timers have an impressive new home to show off to visitors at the Ponderosa Zoo in Heckmondwike.

Ponderosa re-opened on Monday, April 12 after lockdown and the new Lemur Walkthrough allows visitors an unrestricted view of these fascinating animals.

The family-run tourist attraction, off Smithies Lane, is home to more than 140 animals, including their collection of lemurs who moved into a new purpose-built enclosure last month.

An inquisitive lemur at Ponderosa Zoo in Heckmondwike

The build took place under lockdown three and as well as unprecedented access, it raises awareness of the conservation effort of zoo’s charity partners.

The brand-new enclosure houses Black and White Ruffled Lemurs, Ring-Tailed Lemurs and Red-Fronted Lemurs.

Transforming previously unused land within the zoo, the exhibit has ample space for these exotic animals to explore.

Zookeeper Amy Armitage said: “We have worked really hard to get the new enclosure ready and we are so excited. We can’t wait for visitors to see these incredible animals in their amazing new space.”

The zoo is also looking for volunteers to help run the lemur exhibit. Volunteers will help with daily feeds and cleaning out the enclosures and will also chat to visitors to tell them all there is to know about lemurs.

Volunteers must be 18 or over and be confident in dealing with the public. Full training will be given.

Ponderosa Zoo - originally called Ponderosa Rural Therapeutic Centre - was created in 1991 by Maureen and Howard Cook with the aim of bringing disabled and able-bodied people together through the care of animals.

Now, as well as the animals, Ponderosa Zoo boasts an abundance of outdoor facilities including an outdoor adventure play area and a lakeside beach complete with pirate ship.

All outdoor areas re-opened last week, however the Bunny Barn and Reptile House will remain closed.

Amy added: “We have taken every necessary precaution to ensure the zoo is safe for visitors, including installing hand wash stations, implementing one-way systems, enhanced cleaning procedures, and limiting capacity.”

Visitors to Ponderosa Zoo should pre-book tickets via the website.

Anyone wanting to volunteer for the lemur enclosure must be able to commit to at least one day a week for a minimum of three months.

For an application form, email Eve Fearn at [email protected]