Europe's oldest lemur dies at Paignton Zoo

Mandy came to the zoo in 2003 and is thought to be the oldest lemur in Europe Credit: Paignton Zoo

A lemur thought to be the oldest in Europe has died at Paignton Zoo at the age of 26.

Mandy the red-fronted lemur has been in Paignton since 2003 when she moved from Blackpool Zoo.

In a statement online, a spokesperson for the site confirmed the news saying: "We are deeply saddened to announce that Mandy, our beloved red-fronted lemur, has passed away at the age of 26.

"Mandy was thought to be the oldest lemur in Europe and was a favourite of staff and visitors alike."While we mourn Mandy's passing, we are grateful for the dedication of our keepers in providing her with the best possible care throughout her life."

Mandy leaves behind 23-year-old Mango who has been her male companion for 18 years.

Keeper Georgina Barnes described Mandy as 'one of those animals that everyone fell in love with.'

"She was a very determined character and just lovely to be around. I will miss her greatly and I am thankful that I got the chance to work with her," she said.

"You shouldn’t have favourites but Mandy was a favourite of the whole team. It was a sad day for us all.

"It is definitely the hardest part of the job and I am proud of the team for their dedication to the care of Mandy throughout her life and the bravery shown at the end.”

Red-fronted lemurs, like Mandy, are classed as vulnerable, with their dwindling numbers in the wild thought to be a result of threats to their natural home of Madagascar.

The total population of red-fronted lemurs is not known, but the number is thought to be decreasing.

Paignton Zoo is one of just six UK zoos that currently house red-fronted lemurs.