Just when you thought you had heard it all... then came along 'lemur yoga'. Armathwaite Hall, a hotel and spa in Cumbria, is now offering yoga classes with lemurs, 'lemoga', at the nearby Lake District Wildlife Park. The zoo states 'the lemurs have the freedom to stay or leave', so what is the problem? 

Here we explore the reasons why lemoga isn't beneficial for lemurs, their conservation or an ethical stance in general...

Animals are not props!

In a yoga class you may expect to see some mats, blocks and straps. However these days it seems more than inanimate objects are being included: living, breathing animals are sometimes being used too. In yoga philosophy there are guidelines, ethical codes if you like, that true yogis should follow. One being 'ahimsa' meaning non-harming. This can refer to not harming yourself and others, lemurs included! If you don't know how zoos can harm animals, read up on zoos here.

Leave wild animals to it

Wild animals have wild instincts. Some can be dangerous, some may be easier to get on with. But the point is, that they should be left well alone, preferably in the wild, where they belong. Furthermore, wild animals are not pets. Sadly fads catch on and whilst lemur yoga may seem harmless, it is not so long ago that sales of meerkats as pets increased, presumably due to the rise of meerkats in the media, including the 'Compare the Meerkats' advert. Do we want to encourage a national craze of lemur yoga and lemurs as pets?! Whilst it is a funny thought, I know that a lemur hanging out in my lounge just wouldn't be right. 

Lemurs sitting in the sun

Lemur Conservation

Lemurs are endangered. So thank goodness zoos are saving them, right? Well no, not when you consider the facts. These lemurs will live out their lives in captivity in a country far from home, deprived of their natural climate and habitat. They would normally live in troops of up to 30 individuals in the forests and scrubs of Madagascar. Travelling on average 1km and most importantly having the freedom to move when they want, if they want. That freedom cannot be replicated in any zoo.

The Lake District Wildlife Park proudly states that 10% of every yoga encounter gets donated to a Madagascan charity working to conserve lemurs. But let's have a think about that....in order to save the species, zoos exploit the very animals that they are fundraising to save. It doesn't make a lot of sense, does it?!

Of course, endangered species need our help though - we cannot ignore that. We believe in in-situ conservation - working in habitats to help lemurs that need protecting. Funding great charities and projects doing this work is incredibly important. But there are other ways of fundraising for those projects. Ways which don't involve holding lemurs captive who will live out their lives in captivity. Ways that don't involve any suffering. 

Yoga, experiences, encounters, whatever that interaction with animals is, it's time we look at animals in a different light. We need to stop using animals in an exploitative way and treat them with respect. Human or non-human animal, we all deserve that.

DONATEto our zoo campaign today to help end animal exploitation in zoos.