Looking forward to spring!
As we sit here in below freezing temperatures, the lemurs are eagerly awaiting their spring release! All of our NHE-5 inhabitants are rearing to get back out into their 5.8 acre forest playground that supporters like you made possible. While the lemurs’ winter housing is pleasant, warm, and filled with daily enrichment, nothing can match life free-ranging in the forest!
On a warmer note, we are thrilled to report that our female Coquerel’s sifaka, Euphemia, gave birth to a healthy baby girl on January 8, 2015, sired by Lucius! The baby has been named Lupicina, which follows the Roman naming theme for this species. Euphemia, Lucius, Lupicina, and uncle Thrax are all being introduced back together now. They all seem to be getting along well and each love taking turns grooming the infant. The next step will be to introduce the group back to their blue-eyed black lemur enclosure mates. Provided that all goes well, the group will be free-ranging again by mid-April to early May.
There are many steps to getting our enclosures ready for the spring. Our grounds crew must check the structural integrity of all of the acres of fence line (keep in mind there are 9 enclosures), ensure the electro-net systems are working, remove any trees or branches that might pose an escape hazard, add more gravel to fence lines, and ensure all catch cages are ready to go. On the animal care side of things, new radio collars and batteries need to be ordered, frequencies matched and placed on animals, veterinary exams performed and introduction to new enclosure mates completed! Not too much work, right?! Regardless, all of the hours of back breaking labor and tedious observations will be worth it once our staff and visitors see the excitement in the lemurs’ eyes when those gates open the first time in the spring! Your donations, big and small, all help keep this project going and keep the lemurs in the forest. Thank you for all of your support!
Thank you for your support and interest in helping to give more lemurs access to natural habitats at the Duke Lemur Center. Thanks to your generous donation, we have raised almost 90% of our goal to complete this project to provide more forest for our lemurs.
It has been three months of fun in the sun for our lemurs in their new forested enclosure! Rather, fun in the rain…… it has been an uncharacteristically rainy summer in Durham, North Carolina. However, the rain has not dampened the spirits of the lemurs in the forest.
Our little family of Coquerel’s sifakas has made the most of their 5.8 acres of forest. Lucius, Euphemia and Thrax have explored every tree, sampled all the yummy tree buds, and gorged on mimosa leaves! Typically, free-ranging Coquerel’s sifakas sleep as a family in a different tree each night. However, this family has found a favorite tree and always tucks in for the night in the same little ball of lemurs on the same branch.
It was reported last time that a family of crowned lemurs was scheduled to move into the forest, instead, a father and son duo of blue-eyed blacks were moved into the enclosure with the sifakas. Tasherit, the dominant female of the crowned lemur family is participating in some locomotion research and she is providing so much data, it was decided to keep Tasherit and her new little baby Zuberi inside for the rest of the summer. Tasherit is a very intelligent lemur and is enjoying her work with the researchers.
Hopkins and Hemsworth were the blue-eyed black lemurs selected to share the forest with the Sifaka family. Last season, Hopkins and Hemsworth shared a forest with a spirited group of ring-tailed lemurs and a docile group of Coquerel’s sifaka. The blue-eyed blacks were accustomed to living a life of dominance amongst species. They assumed life was going to be the same with this little group of sifakas. Unfortunately, Euphemia is not going to let this happen. She wants to be the dominant lemur in the forest. After a few initial discussions, Hopkins and Hemsworth have accepted their place on the dominance totem pole (the bottom!) and life is progressing peaceably.
Researchers are now able to increase data collection for Dr. Charlie Nuun’s sleep study. Please read more about this fascinating study here: http://lemur.duke.edu/lemurs-neck-bling-tracks-siestas-insomnia-2/
The sifakas will be able to provide data to assure researchers that the data that was collected in the spring while the animals were inside is consistent with data collected while they are living in the forest.
Thanks to you, we are able to provide these lemur families with 5.8 acres of forest to allow them to live like lemurs and to provide valuable data to our researchers. Thank you!
Thank you for your support and interest in helping to give more lemurs access to natural habitats at the Duke Lemur Center. Thanks to your generous donation, we have raised more than 80% of our goal to complete this project to provide more forest for our lemurs.
As mentioned, 75% of the 80 acres at the Duke Lemur Center is currently fenced to allow lemurs to safely live in large tracts of forests like wild lemurs. This project will provide another 5.8 acres for an additional protected area for our lemurs to live in the forest. The plan is to release a small family of Coquerel’s Sifakas and family of Crowned Lemurs into this habitat.
As mentioned in our last update, the weather in North Carolina has been uncharacteristically cold this year. Our lemurs typically enjoy 8-9 months in the forests each year. In order to keep our lemurs safe and warm, they must stay inside when it is below 45 degrees. In each of our habitats we do provide heated nest boxes just in case temperatures quickly drop and to provide comfort to our animals who prefer a cozy area at night. Due to the cold winter, the electrical work to the nest boxes was delayed. This electrical work should be completed in about two weeks.
Once the electrical work is complete the Coquerel’s Sifakas will be released into the enclosures. This is exciting news for the small little family which includes Euphemia, Thrax and Lucius. While this family has been patiently waiting, they have been invaluable researchers in a sleep study. They have been wearing fancy collars for Dr. Charlie Nuun to better understand the conservation and management implications of healthy sleep. Please read more about this fascinating study here.
The crowned lemur family will have to wait a little longer to join their sifaka companions in the forest. Tasherit, the crowned lemur matriarch is pregnant and will remain inside until after her babies are born. Pregnancy is always a welcome delay!
Thank you for your support and interest in giving more lemurs access to natural forested habitats at the Duke Lemur Center. Thanks to your generous donation, we have raised more than 80% of our goal to complete this project.
As mentioned, 75% of the 80 acres at the Duke Lemur Center is currently fenced to allow lemurs to safely live in large tracts of forests like their wild Malagasy cousins. This project will provide another 5.8 acres of enclosed forest for our lemurs to live. Because of you, this project is well underway. We have purchased fencing, materials and begun to make the area safe for our lemurs to move into their new forest home once it becomes warm enough for the lemurs to be outside.
Our lemurs typically enjoy 8-9 months in the forests each year. In order to keep our lemurs safe and warm, they must stay inside when it is below 45 degrees. While the lemurs are inside, we have been working quickly to fence and prepare their new forested area.
We plan to release social groups of two lemur species, a group of crowned lemurs and a group of Coquerel’s sifaka. The specific lemur families chosen for the new forested enclosure depend on their conditioning for free-ranging life, their compatibility to one another, their pregnancy status and timing of any expected births.
Please enjoy the photos of our new shiny fence and lemurs in our other forested areas from last season. Once birthing season is complete, the lemur families have been selected and the temperatures increase to allow lemurs to inhabit the forests, we will send new photos of the lemurs leaping in their new forest!
As a last request from our lemurs and keepers, we are so close to affording a new ATV to provide to our keepers to carry food, supplies and equipment to the new forested habitat. Please consider sharing this project with family and friends so the lemurs can have the convenience of a vehicle to transport their supplies.
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