Lola finds love again after Marco moves in

PUBLISHED: 08:00 03 July 2019

Bicton Lemurs Lola and Marco. Ref exb 27 19TI 7066. Picture: Terry Ife

Bicton Lemurs Lola and Marco. Ref exb 27 19TI 7066. Picture: Terry Ife

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Bicton College's lonely lemur Lola now has a new friend following a donation from a safari park.

Bicton Lemurs Marco and Lola with Jade Dymond and Luke Bennett. Ref exb 27 19TI 7047. Picture: Terry IfeBicton Lemurs Marco and Lola with Jade Dymond and Luke Bennett. Ref exb 27 19TI 7047. Picture: Terry Ife

After her long-time partner Leon died at the age of 23 earlier this year, staff at the college began an exhaustive search to find her a new friend to share her enclosure with.

According to the college, Leon's death hit Lola hard and she became 'sad and withdrawn' despite staff and students showering her with attention and affection.

They even tried putting her in a different enclosure with another pair of lemurs - Chloe and Hira - but they did not take to her.

Longleat Safari Park answered the call and donated four-year-old Marco to Bicton College.

Bicton Lemurs Lola and Marco. Ref exb 27 19TI 7049. Picture: Terry IfeBicton Lemurs Lola and Marco. Ref exb 27 19TI 7049. Picture: Terry Ife

Lola and Marco are now 'happily living together' in an enclosure at the college's husbandry unit.

Danille Kemp, head technician at Bicton College, said: "Introducing the pair to each other was a long process.

"Firstly Marco was put into a large cage near Lola for her to get used to his looks and smell.

"Bit by bit the cage got closer to Lola until she started to reach out to touch him.

Bicton Lemurs Lola and Marco. Ref exb 27 19TI 7056. Picture: Terry IfeBicton Lemurs Lola and Marco. Ref exb 27 19TI 7056. Picture: Terry Ife

"During this time we kept the number of students in the enclosure to a minimum in order for it to remain quiet and calm and give the lemurs the best chance of getting to know each other.

"After a few weeks, as things seemed to be going well, we let Marco into Lola's enclosure under our watchful eye, within a few hours Lola and Marco were grooming each other and are now happily living together."

Bicton has more than 100 species of animals housed in the state of the art Animal Husbandry Unit which opened in 2014.

Some 80 per cent of their animals come from the RSPCA however, they also take on animals from zoos and safari parks.

Bicton Lemurs Lola and Marco. Ref exb 27 19TI 7050. Picture: Terry IfeBicton Lemurs Lola and Marco. Ref exb 27 19TI 7050. Picture: Terry Ife

Bicton also works with the Rare Breeds Survival Trust where staff and students are working hard to establish a range of rare breeds of poultry species.

These include Andalusian and Cream Legbar chickens and more recently Bourbon Red Turkeys.

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