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Conservationist praises Banham Zoo on primates plan

PUBLISHED: 15:50 28 September 2016 | UPDATED: 15:50 28 September 2016

Guy Randriatahina, from The Lemur Conservation Association, with Belle the endangered blue-eyed black lemur at Banham Zoo. Picture: Rebecca Murphy.

Guy Randriatahina, from The Lemur Conservation Association, with Belle the endangered blue-eyed black lemur at Banham Zoo. Picture: Rebecca Murphy.

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The programme director of The Lemur Conservation Association (AEECL) has visited Banham Zoo to highlight the importance of conservation.

The zoo has supported the AEECL for many years and has a critically endangered blue-eyed black lemur called Belle. A male lemur will soon arrive at the zoo.

There are believed to be between 1,000 and 4,000 left in the wild.

Guy Randriatahina, who is based in Madagascar, visited to see for himself the work the zoo does and also gave a talk to staff about the research which the AEECL is doing.

Mr Randriatahina said: “It is excellent conservation here and they can do things we cannot do in the natural habitat.

“The breeding programme is very helpful if we do not do that we do not know in the future what might happen. Here they can keep them well and start work on them for genetics. It is very important.

“I work with them in the field and it is important for me to be here to know exactly what they are doing.

“I am here as well to speak to our partners because most of the funds and support come from them. It is a great day for me to speak about what is being done and what should be done in the future.”

It was Mr Randriatahina’s first visit to Britain and he also visited a number of other zoos who support the AEECL.

Gary Batters, Banham Zoo’s director of conservation and education, said: “The Zoological Society of East Anglia and before that just Banham Zoo have invested close to £90,000 over the years.

“It is an excellent project and Guy does an excellent job out there.”

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