If you’re in need of some good news, here it is: the Duke Lemur Center saw the birth of two new lemurs in January.
Terence, a Coquerel’s sifaka lemur, was born Jan. 21 this year. Terence is the nephew of the famed Zoboomafoo, another sifaka lemur. Didius, the grandson of Zoboomafoo, was born one day after him on Jan. 22.
“The arrivals of these two infants remind us, even in difficult times, of the power that lemurs have to make us smile,” said Greg Dye, executive director of the Duke Lemur Center, on their website.
Megan McGrath, education programs manager of the Duke Lemur Center, said Terrence and Didius are in a fun stage of their lives where they are starting to get brave and do things on their own. But if their mom gets too far away, they call and make her come back.
“I watched as Didius got really brave and hopped off his mom, Gisela,” McGrath said. “And then Gisela went off into another area of their enclosure, and Didius got a little less brave and did a little lost call for her, and she immediately hopped back over and he climbed onto her, and he climbed around with her.”
The Duke Lemur Center is continuing to care for their 200+ lemurs amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Sara Clark, director of communications and guest experience manager of the center, said they arranged their animal care staff so the lemurs are still provided with the same high standard of care.
Nonessential operations, like in-person tours and on-site research, have been suspended until further notice, Clark said. Essential staff that are continuing to work on-site include the animal care team, as well as staff that provide back-up for the animal care team.
“The lemurs don’t know what’s going on in the outside world. For them, everything is the same,” Clark said. “They are just seeing fewer people on tours.”
It takes the Duke Lemur Center about $8,400 a year to feed, house and care for each lemur. The center relies on income from tours, as well as grants and private donations, to fund their public outreach and education programs and their conservation programs in Madagascar.
Clark said the Duke Lemur Center accepts donations online, and the “Adopt A Lemur” program allows lemurs to be virtually adopted in exchange for a small donation.
Clark said they are looking into creating educational content online, but nothing is confirmed yet.
“Right now, we are looking into fun ways to offer educational content and videos to continue teaching people about lemurs, and perhaps people will donate what they would have donated for an in-person tour,” Clark said.