Hi there lovely people and welcome back to another edition of news from the zoo….this week it’s chips for lemurs!
This week we are with our veterinary and lemur keeper teams as we’ve been microchipping our baby lemurs!
Pet owners will be familiar with microchipping as a way of improving the chances of being reunited with our fur babies should they ever be lost of wander off under the influence of a sniff of a tasty treat – it might come as a surprise to some that animals in zoos like Safari Zoo are chipped in the same way!
All adult Animals here on site at Safari Zoo are microchipped – this will have happened either prior to them arriving at Safari Zoo if they moved to us as part of the breeding programme or, if they are born on site like this little lemur, they will have been chipped here by our veterinary teams.
The scan numbers are recorded on the animal’s record which is an online system called Zims. Zims gives a full account and details of the animal including their medical history, their parental lineage, any treatments they have had and any key characteristics/behavioural notes which help in providing the best level of care. Zims is also accessible by other zoos, both in the UK and abroad, so when an animal transfers to a different zoo the care teams at their new home can access their full history, again helping the best level of care possible to continue through the animals life.
The microchip number acts as an identifier – whilst our keeping teams can identify the animals in their care onsite, this is sometimes more tricky for the veterinary teams who see them less frequently. For example, a Lemur may be on a course of animal antibiotics which they need to take twice a day – a quick scan with our chip scanner ensures the right Lemur receives the right medication at the right times. Microchips also act a little like an animal’s passport as they are entered onto the documentation required to be completed and approved prior to any animal movements.
We met lemur Keeper Emma a few weeks back, this week we introduce lemur Keeper Laura Beth who helped with the microchipping.
Laura has always had an interest in wildlife and conservation, visiting reserves in South Africa with her college and publishing a paper on the prey preferences of Jackals. Laura started out volunteering here at the zoo when she was 17. Lemurs were Lauras love and she completed her final University research project on aggression in ringtails. 3 years ago Laura scored a full time job as an animal keeper looking after the lemur and primate sections which also includes the Tapir, maned wolves, capybara and red squirrels. The daily job includes caring for the animals, cleaning enclosures aswell as enclosure maintenance. Children who have done a junior keeper experience with us will no doubt recognise Laura as her cheery disposition and caring nature makes her the perfect lead for our Junior Keeper days.
In Laura’s own words the best bit about the job and what makes it unique is “getting to know the animal’s characteristics and working within a team that are very close – it’s like having another family”. Laura’s little-known-fact is about lemurs – Laura says ringtail Bluebelle really likes baby lemurs and is known as the baby thief…..last year Bluebelle carried around 3 babies and visitors thought she was mum to triplets – only one of the babies was actually hers! This year Bluebelle has had twins of her own and is clearly more content