Southeast England isn’t exactly a hop, skip and a jump from either Madagascar or the Indonesian island of Java.
Try telling this to the resident lemurs and langurs of Port Lympne Reserve, a 600-acre safari park located near lush and exotic Ashford, Kent (aka pretty much the farthest away you can get from the natural habitats of these at-risk primates). It’s lovely to imagine that the animals will adjust without a hitch when released from the conservation-minded reserve in rainy coastal England and reintroduced to their old stomping grounds (Madagascar for the lemurs and Java for the langurs). Hey! I remember this place! So great to be back!
Things, however, aren’t that simple. Reintroducing or establishing endangered animals in their native habitats is a careful, time-consuming process with numerous aspects to take into consideration ranging from diet to disease.
Luckily, Port Lympne Reserve, through the work of partnering wildlife charity the Aspinall Foundation, just happens to be pretty damned good at it. The foundation’s Back to the Wild program ensures that the animals in question are reintroduced only when truly ready to make the big move. And after they're released, the animals are subject to continued monitoring and care if needed.
Now, as part of the multi-step reintroduction process, Port Lympne’s lemurs and langurs have been given the opportunity to watch some serious television from within the comfort of their enclosures. The televisions themselves — BRAVIA 4K Ultra HD TVs from Sony — are about as top-notch as you can get, presenting images that are, as advertised, four times the clarity of regular HD TVs.
On each of the TVs, captive-born lemurs and langurs have the opportunity to view incredibly vivid and lifelike footage of their native homes — a high-def taste of what’s to come, basically, so they're not overwhelmed.
Explains Simon Jeffery, animal manager at Port Lympne Reserve:
At Port Lympne, we’re always looking for new ways to engage and stimulate our animals. We use all sorts of different techniques to do this to keep our animals as interested and healthy as possible. Sometimes the enrichment can involve scents or tastes or even new climbing features or toys but this time we wanted to try something a little different to see if they would be interested in their natural habitats in the wild.
While our large enclosures are designed to resemble the animals’ natural habitat as closely as possible, we decided to give our langurs and lemurs an actual peek of areas in the wild that could, potentially, become their new homes. Sony BRAVIA 4K TV picture quality is so clear and detailed that it’s as close to seeing the rainforest with your own eyes.
These images of lemurs and langurs sitting spellbound as they view the tropical rain forests of Madagascar and Java via HD TV are fascinating. What are they thinking? Do they like what they see? Are they frightened or scared? Or does something click? This is where I’m supposed to be.
Following in the footsteps of a previous Indonesia-based reintroduction program, the TV-watching langurs of Port Lympne Reserve will return to a protected forest on Java at some point next year.
It’s unclear when the lemurs will be united with their native habitats.
Jeffery explains: “Although we have been working closely with local communities in Madagascar for some time, we haven’t yet introduced captive-born lemurs from the parks to this unique island. Our surveys and ground work have been very successful, and we’re really excited to start exploring the possibility of sending captive born lemurs back to the wild, where they belong."