The lemur exhibit on the Tropics Trail was recently given a makeover. The Minnesota Zoo’s horticulture supervisor, Kim Thomas, and her team strategically worked on placing new plants in the lemur exhibit that are native to Madagascar. The new plant additions to the lemur exhibit feature the Madagascar Dragon Tree, the Umbrella Tree and the Areca Palms. When deciding what types of plants to put in the exhibit Kim and her team made sure the plants matched with the animal’s natural habitat. These three types of plants were also chosen because they would be durable for the lemurs in the exhibit.
Kim Thomas worked closely with the Lemur zookeepers to find out where the lemurs enjoy hanging out and where they typically go to the bathroom. Why? If the plants were placed in these areas it would have the potential to mess up the lemurs’ daily routine. If this strategic placement of new plants was not thought out, the Lemurs might “do their business” right on the plants and the zookeepers would have their hands full cleaning them off. Kim and the zookeepers also wanted to assure that the visibility of the lemurs on exhibit was not lost. The placement of these new native plants was important so the exhibit continues to look great for animals and zoo visitors alike!
In the wild, ring-tailed and red ruffed lemurs call the island of Madagascar their home, so it is no surprise that the plants that are featured in their exhibit are from the island too. This allows for the lemurs to feel like they are in a Madagascar forest!