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Monday, May 10, 2010

Henry Doorly Zoo's Expedition Madagascar brings unique species to Omaha

After two years of construction, Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo kicked off this past weekend with the opening of Expedition Madagascar, a 300-foot-long building showcasing animal species exclusive to Madagascar. The building - located at the east end of the Garden of the Senses - officially opened to the public on May 7.

The 17,000-square-foot main building houses 15 indoor exhibits, featuring fish, reptiles, small mammals and several unique species of lemurs. There are also four outdoor exhibits for guests to view: a 1,050-square-foot fossa enclousure, a 1,750-square-foot ring-tailed lemur island with manmade baobab trees, a 1,600-square-foot netted Coquerel's sifaka exhibit and a 6,700-square-foot walk-through island home to ruffed lemurs.

The exhibit also serves as an education hub for guests to learn about the Omaha Zoo's Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership. Mentors from the zoo's molecular genetics and education departments are working with students from Omaha North High School to introduce fuel-efficient rocket stoves to Malagasy natives. These stoves promote an alternative way of cooking that deters natives from contributing to the loss of about 90 percent of Madagascar's forests. This is one of several projects conducted through the Madagascar partnership, which began in 1998.

Visit http://www.omahazoo.com/ for more information on Expedition Madagascar and other conservation efforts of Omaha's Zoo.

(Photos by Andrea Ciurej)

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