Plenty of chuckles at zoo’s new exhibit

Barry Elliott with a Ring-tailed Lemur at the Tropical Butterfly House, Wildlife and Falconry Centre, photograph by Ben Coulson.
Barry Elliott with a Ring-tailed Lemur at the Tropical Butterfly House, Wildlife and Falconry Centre, photograph by Ben Coulson.
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Chucklevision star Barry Elliot was on hand to open a new state-of-the-art lemur attraction in South Yorkshire.

The children’s television presenter – better known as Barry Chuckle and famed for his ‘to me, to you’ catchphrase with younger brother Paul – cut the ribbon on the enclosure at the Tropical Butterfly House, Wildlife and Falconry Centre in North Anston.

The exhibit, called Lemur Heights, incorporates a glass-fronted indoor courtyard, leading to an outdoor area where the lemurs are free to wander among guests and leap around the trees.

It will be home to both ring-tailed lemurs and red-ruffed lemurs, which are part of a breeding programme to ensure a sustainable captive population.

Crowds of visitors came to see 68-year-old Barry, from Rotherham, unveil a commemorative plaque and open the centre for the first time.

Andrew Reeve, zoo curator and manager, said he was proud of the result after months of construction.

He said: “We believe we have created the leading lemur exhibit in Britain thanks to the careful planning of the enclosure with the needs of the lemurs as priority, while ensuring an unforgettable experience for the public.”

Heather Scott, team leader, said: “Visitors of all ages were excited to have their photos taken with Barry and say hello, as were all the staff.

“Barry was on top form when he took the microphone to introduce Lemur Heights before cutting the red ribbon and he got everyone in the mood with some signature Chuckle Brothers catchphrases.

“It was a wonderful atmosphere and a great way to celebrate the completion of one of our biggest-ever projects.”

Since Easter, the Woodsetts Road attraction has raised £1,700 for the Madagascar Fauna Group which supports research and conservation projects for more than 100 different species of lemur.