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Lemurs remain displaced after tree damages habitat at Texas Zoo.

By Gheni_Platenburg
Oct. 5, 2010 at 5:05 a.m.

A tree fell on top the lemur exhibit at the Texas Zoo early Saturday morning. The five lemurs were not harmed and have been relocated to a holding area on zoo grounds out of public view until further notice.

A little over a week after the Texas Zoo lemur exhibit was damaged by a large pecan tree, the displaced lemurs remain in temporary living quarters, a zoo official said.

The five lemurs lost their home on Sept. 25 after the tree, whose base appeared to be dead, fell onto the exhibit, leaving the animals uninjured but their home destroyed.

The two ring-tailed lemurs, two black and white lemurs and one red ruffed lemur have been living in holding and quarantine areas since the incident occurred.

"They're doing fine," said Andrea Blomberg, executive director for the Texas Zoo. "By no means are they hurting for anything. The space is designed to be comfortable for extended amount of times."

Blomberg said the spaces are temperature-controlled and have windows, but are not visible to the general public.

The damaged exhibit will not be covered by insurance, said Blomberg.

As of Monday, community members had donated $7,150 toward the $10,000 to $12,000 needed to build a new habitat for the lemurs.

Blomberg said she hopes to begin construction on the new exhibit in November if they can raise all the money needed.

They plan on having a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the exhibit's grand reopening.

The design for the new exhibit has not yet been finalized, however, Blomberg was excited about designing something new and different.

"This is an opportunity for us to take into account how exhibits are laid out and exhibited in the zoo," she said. "We've taken something negative and turned it into something positive."

A local construction service is expected to remove the fallen tree some time this week, said Blomberg.

For now, zoo guests have not been too upset about the closed lemur exhibit.

"They just feel badly for what has happened to us. They have been more concerned with the well-being of the animals and staff," said Blomberg.

Although the lemurs are safe, the Zoo is not out of the woods just yet.

Blomberg said there are three more trees of concern in the Zoo, including one, located right next to the one that fell down, which could potentially damage the owl and hawk exhibit.



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