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Enrichment is a massive part of animal husbandry at Tayto Park. Rangers regularly introduce novel items into the animals’ daily routine, as a way of stimulating natural behaviour. For any of our readers that have horses, you may recognise the item our fossa are playing with. Loved by horses as well - the Jolly Ball is perfect enrichment for our girls!
The fossa is the largest carnivore on the island of Madagascar and Madagascar is home to an abundance of plants and animals found nowhere else on Earth. Approximately 90% of all plant and animal species found in Madagascar are endemic (live there and only there). Madagascar is often referred to as the "eighth continent" as it is a biodiversity hotspot.
Increasing human population and habitat destruction for agriculture have resulted in the loss of 90% of Madagascar’s original forest cover. This has threatened many of Madagascar's endemic species, and in extreme cases resulted in extinction. The island's elephant birds became extinct in the 17th, due to poaching. Giant lemur species vanished with the arrival of human settlers to the island, putting greater pressure on lemur habitat.
In 2017, 90% of lemur species were found to be threatened with extinction, the highest proportion of any mammalian group.
The Fossa is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Fortunately, a successful captive breeding programme is in place for Fossa, however, it is essential that we protect Madagascar's forest habitat to prevent further degradation and fragmentation.
Make sure your visit our girls on your next visit!