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Belfast Zoo celebrates arrival of three white-belted ruffed lemurs and wants help to name them

Belfast Zoo is celebrating the arrival of three critically endangered white-belted ruffed lemurs
Marie Louise McConville

Belfast Zoo is celebrating the arrival of a new set of triplets and have asked the public for helping with naming the wide-eyed wonders.

The three female white-belted ruffed lemurs were born on April 7, 2017 to Mianta and Wakka, who have welcomed more than 10 infants since they arrived at the zoo in 2009.

Zoo staff said the sisters have now become more confident and mischievous and have started to leave their nest to explore their surroundings.

Allan Galway, senior keeper, said: "This has given us the opportunity to discover the sex of the new arrivals, three little females, and we now need the public’s help to name them.

"You can submit suggestions on our website at www.belfastzoo.co.uk or, if you are visiting the zoo this bank holiday, you can complete a form on-site".

As the fourth largest island in the world, Madagascar is home to more than 100 different species of lemur and unique species which are found nowhere else.

However, the island has one of the most threatened ecosystems on the planet and more than 80 percent of its forests have disappeared since the 1950s, leaving many irreplaceable species in danger of extinction.

Alyn Cairns, zoo manager, said: "Some research has estimated that if the rate of deforestation in Madagascar continues, lemurs could be extinct within 25 years.

"We work with zoos around the world through collaborative breeding programmes. Every birth is not only a celebration for Belfast Zoo but for the conservation efforts to ensure the future survival of these lemurs."

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