27/04/2018

New arrival at Bristol Zoo Gardens is a great little survivor

The latest arrival at Bristol Zoo Gardens had to undergo life-saving surgery at just two weeks’ old.

The Lake Alaotra gentle lemur injured one of her eyes which had to be removed before it became infected.

The lemur, which is only about 10cm (4 inches) long, was taken to the operating theatre in the veterinary department at Bristol Zoo and given a general anaesthetic.

Then vet Richard Saunders carefully carried out the delicate procedure to remove her injured left eye.

Richard, named Vet of the Year in the Ceva animal welfare awards earlier this month, said: “Her eye was sadly too badly damaged to be saveable, and so we decided to remove it, to give her the best chance of a quick recovery and a good quality of life”

After the operation the gentle lemur was returned to her enclosure with her mum, Alina, where she has recovered well.

Alan Toyne, mammals’ team leader, said: “Alina is a good mum. This is her second baby and she is putting on weight quickly and is quite strong.”

In time the baby gentle lemur will move onto a diet of bamboo, pellets and cut grass and when fully grown will be between 30 and 40cm (12-16 inches) long.

Alan said: “We are all delighted that this baby lemur has survived the surgery. Every time that we breed an animal that is Critically Endangered is a feather in our cap. “

Bristol Zoo Gardens has been breeding Lake Alaorta gentle lemurs for more than 10 years. This is very important because they are one of the most threatened species of lemur in Madagascar where there are now thought to be fewer than 2,500 of them.

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