Refuge needs to help to care for rare lemurs

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A sanctuary which looks after some of the rarest animals in the world- and some ever popular meerkats - has made a plea for help after welcoming six new arrivals to the centre.

The Exotic Pet Refuge in Deeping St James is home to around 100 different species of animals, providing much needed care for abandoned and homeless creatures.

The refuge has recently started caring for two ring tailed lemurs, two cotton topped tamarins and three meerkats after another rescue centre closed down.

The lemurs are an endangered species, while the tamarins are even more under threat of extinction.

Jane Syrova, manager of the Deeping centre, said: “We have a male and female lemur, which are a pair, two male tamarins and three male meerkats.

“The tamarins are a critically endangered species. The two we have are both aged about seven years old.

“We already have another pair of lemurs, and they all seen to be getting on well.

“At the moment they are in cages next to each other, but we may move them together at some point soon.

“We have another pair of meerkats, but it is not likely we will move the others in with them.”

All the new animals are being housed in the refuge’s primate complex.

Along with the new arrivals, the centre takes care of a vast array of exotic animals - with everything from leopards and alligators to owls and monkeys. The animals are cared for by the refuge after they have been abandoned by private owners , after zoos close down or when owners can no longer look after them.

Jane said: “We have about 100 different species and around 250 different animals .

“We get asked about new animals on almost a daily basis, and we are especially busy at this time of year.

“There are lots of reasons why – but sometimes they just get left behind.”

The refuge relies entirely on public support to keep open and caring for the creatures. Jane said: “We are run entirely by volunteers. All the funds we have are from donations or our open days. But we can’t have our open days as often in the winter as through the rest of the year.

“The winter is a busy time, the electric bills are higher, the food bills are higher - we really need all the support we can possibly get.”

Along with money, the refuge has also set up a wishlist on web-store Amazon, where people can buy crucial items the centre needs, including food, animal bedding and tools and equipment.

People can also volunteer to help at the centre, or sponsor different animals.

For more information about how to help, visit www.exoticpetrefuge.org.uk

The next open day at the centre is scheduled to be held on Sunday, April 1.