It turns out Turlock has been home to more wildlife than just the estranged mountain lion that made his appearance through residential streets almost two years ago.
A ring-tailed lemur was spotted in the backyard of a Turlock residence’s home in December 2015. After research, the resident confirmed it was a lemur he had spotted and notified the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
From there, the lemur was transported to the Sacramento Zoo for proper keeping until a new home is found.
“This is a very rare occurrence in Turlock,” said Tonja Candelaria, public relations coordinator for the Sacramento Zoo. “There is no one in the area permitted to house a lemur and so one should not have been discovered there. While we do not know his back story, it is apparent that he had been a part of the illegal pet trade.”
The lemur has gone through an extensive veterinary process including all of the necessary vaccines and has received his clean bill of health.
“The resident did everything he was supposed to do,” said Candelaria. “We are in the process of finding the male ring-tailed lemur a permanent home at another zoo or sanctuary where all of his social, mental and physical needs will be met.”
According to Scientific American, researchers have estimated that home and business owners had taken 28,000 lemurs in the previous three years. The study went on to say that although the illegal trade affects at least 20 of 103 known lemur species, the iconic ring-tailed lemur represents a huge portion of the market.
“It did become apparent, based on the lack of documentation and his behaviors, that he had been part of the illegal pet trade and that his social needs and skills as a lemur had not been met,” said Candelaria.
As for now, the lemur will “move it, move it” with other lemurs around him and learn from their behaviors while the Sacramento Zoo looks to find him a permanent home where he can truly learn to be a lemur.