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Lemur that played Zoboomafoo on kids show passes away at Duke Lemur Center

Students might remember Zoboo the lemur fondly as one of the starring characters in the popular TV show "Zoboomafoo."

The well known, well loved Zoboo, otherwise known as Jovian, died on Monday at the age of 20 at the Duke Lemur Center.  

"Zoboomafoo" was a popular TV show during the late 1990s and early 2000s. It featured Zoboo the lemur as well as two brothers, Chris Kratt and Martin Kratt, as they explored the outdoors and wildlife. 

The Kratt brothers' show was the first PBS show specifically designed to help preschoolers learn about the wild and differed from many contemporary shows, which mainly dealt  with animation. 

“Some of my favorite memories were watching "Zoboomafoo" on a Saturday morning because it was so different than the animated shows I was used to," said junior Halee Morris. "The Kratt brothers had the most amazing relationship with Zoboo." 

Jovian finished the show in 2001 and then was released with his wife, Alexianus, into the free-range outdoor enclosure at the lemur center. 

The Kratt brothers tweeted on Wednesday, “Today we remember our friend Jovian, also fondly known as Zoboo,” two days after the lemur's death. 

Anne Yoder, director of the center, said Jovian was a model lemur at the center and a huge asset when it came to educating visitors to the center. 

“He was a real pioneer and a very gentle soul,” Yoder said. “This is the end of an era, and we all feel the loss on a very personal level.”

Some students at UNC echoed Yoder's thoughts and feelings of loss.

“Zoboo was more than just a lemur, he was an introduction to a world outside of my own, and his death represents a loss of part of my childhood," said freshman Rain Tiller. 

The Duke Lemur Center cares for nearly 250 animals, all of which are housed and cared for on 80 acres of wooded land. 

“All of our lemurs are special, but Jovian was among the most special of the special,” Yoder said.

Still, Jovian is not leaving the Duke Lemur Center without a legacy. The center still cares for Jovian’s nine offspring, all of whom continue to follow in their father's footsteps of helping educate the center's visitors and participating in non-evasive lemur research conducted by Duke. 

“He was one of the few sifaka males that we have had that was truly interested in his offspring,” Yoder said. “He was a model father.”

Monday was a day of loss for the devoted watchers of "Zoboomafoo."

“I felt like I lost a friend and a mentor that day,” Tiller said.

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