This morning the sun was shining and the day promised to be exceptionally fine so I packed up my camera and set off for Bristol Zoo to photograph some animals. The zoo is currently going M.A.D for Madagascar which means it is taking part in the EAZA (European Association of Zoos and Aquaria) conservation campaign to raise awareness and funds for the unique wildlife of Madagascar. As part of this, the zoo has opened a new enclosure called the 'Lemur Walk Through' where you can actually enter the enclosure and see the Lemurs without the impedance of mesh or glass.
The Lemur in the photos is a male Red Ruffed Lemur. Lemurs are only found naturally on the island of Madagascar and some smaller surrounding islands. All lemurs are endangered or threatened and many species became already extinct in the last centuries due to habitat destruction and hunting. Although conservation efforts are under way, options are limited because of the lemurs' limited range and because of Madagascar's economic situation relative to the developed world. The actor John Cleese has been extremely active in helping to save the lemur. His love of them started at the age of twelve when he would regularly play truant and visit the lemurs at Bristol Zoo. In 1997, Cleese helped raise money to support the work of the Madagascar Fauna Group, an international consortium of zoos founded in 1988 to conserve Madagascar's wildlife and in 1998 he made a documentary to raise awareness of this gorgeous species plight.
The Lemurs were quite shy and stayed a healthy distance from the few people that were allowed in at a time. This made photographing them quite tricky, especially seeing as the female was curled up asleep and the male was hiding, but I had my zoom lens, time and patience so I lined up my camera and waited. I was rewarded with the photos you see above and I just love them. I have more photos I took at the zoo to share soon including one of a baby gorilla :0)