Duke Lemur Center

King Julien Announces Birth of Royal Twins

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The world’s critically endangered Lemur population recently expanded by two! Twin Ring-Tailed Lemurs were born at the Duke Lemur Center, and both were named Princess Julien, after Madagascar’s most famous royal Lemur, King Julien. 

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Photo Credits: Duke Lemur Center

Princess Julien and her sister, Princess Julien, were born on May 4, but their birth was not announced until June 3, following a month of careful monitoring. The announcement was jointly made by Duke Lemur Center and by King Julien XIII, star of the Netflix original series, “All Hail King Julien” (DreamWorks Animation).

In an upset worthy of the tabloids, King Julien was shocked by the news that his heir apparent was not a boy (as he had anticipated following a prediction by his psychic adviser, Masikura the chameleon) and that his royal lineage would be secured with the birth of two females. Nonetheless, Julien was elated and decreed that both infant Lemurs would be named “Princess Julien”.

“I can’t believe they’re making more of me! This is so awesome!” said King Julien, speaking from his royal throne, atop the Baobab Tree, in Madagascar. “My first royal duty will be to teach Princess Julien and Princess Julien how to shake their booties and party in the most regal of ways.”

At birth, the first Princess Julien weighed 59 grams, while the second Princess Julien weighed 48 grams. Both girls were approximately 4 inches long.

Following a thorough check-up by researchers at the Duke Lemur Center, both females were healthy and clinging tightly to their mother, Sophia. Father Randy and grandmother, Cloris, have all been united as a family and are looking forward to meeting their namesake King Julien XIII.

“Male or female, every Lemur baby born is incredibly important,” said Janice Kalin, of the Duke Lemur Center, world’s largest Lemur research facility. “Lemurs have recently been classified as the world’s most threatened mammal group. Every time we can add one, two, or more to their ranks, it helps to stabilize the genetic diversity of these fascinating primates.”

Fans of King Julien can get regular updates about the growth and development of Princess Julien and Princess Julien by visiting the King Julien Facebook page at www.facebook.com/KingJulien or the Duke Lemur Center Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DukeLemurCenter.

An official naming ceremony for Princess Julien and Princess Julien will be held at the Duke Lemur Center on June 20, which will be presided over by the star of “All Hail King Julien”. This will be the first opportunity for the public to meet the Princesses and King Julien himself. For more information visit http://lemur.duke.edu/lemurpalooza-summer-2015/

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Newborn Lemur Looks like Grandpa

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It has been just a few months since the famous lemur, known as ‘Zoboomafoo’, passed away at the age of 20, and fans of the popular television show mourned the loss. Duke Lemur Center, home to Zoboomafoo, is excited to share the encouraging news of the birth of his fifth grandchild! 

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Photo Credits: Duke Lemur Center

Zoboomafoo’s real name was ‘Jovian’, and his legacy lives on in seven surviving offspring and five grandchildren.  Jovian’s television legacy continues, as well.  The PBS children's show “Zoboomafoo”, aired from 1999 to 2001 and continues to entertain children in syndication.

Newborn granddaughter, ‘Isabella’ is a Coquerel’s Sifaka. She was born to Jovian’s oldest son, ‘Charlemagne’, and his mate, ‘Pompeia’, at the Duke Lemur Center on Jan. 25, 2015.  Weighing a healthy 3.8 ounces (110 grams) at birth, the baby and mom received a clean bill of health from veterinarians.

Though she is Jovian's fifth grandchild, Isabella is the first to be born at the Lemur Center.

Lemur Center veterinarian, Dr. Cathy Williams, said, “Successful births like Isabella really embody what we try to do here at the Lemur Center, which is to breed these animals that are extremely endangered in the wild, to learn about them, to give them a good existence and to try to prevent them from going extinct.”

As Isabella’s due date approached in January, lemur keepers checked mother, Pompeia, every morning for a new baby. In the early hours of January 25th, keepers discovered Pompeia sitting high up in her suite, with the baby clinging tightly to her tummy.

Lemur keepers and veterinarians kept a close watch on the newborn for signs of illness. They observed Isabella clinging tightly to mother’s abdomen and nursing, and she continues to gain weight -- all signals that the baby is healthy and mom is providing good care.

After a week to allow mom and baby to bond, dad Charlemagne (‘Charlie’ to his keepers), was slowly introduced to the infant. Within a few days Pompeia was letting the new dad groom and lick the infant. The family now spends all day together, while keepers observe the family’s interactions.

“Charlie put his head down close to the baby and started to ‘sing’ to the baby,” said keeper supervisor, Britt Keith.  Coquerel’s Sifakas use quiet, soft vocalizations, similar to a low “coo”, as they greet one another and touch noses. “He’s going to be a great father, just like his father [Jovian] was.”

Continue reading "Newborn Lemur Looks like Grandpa" »

First Sifaka of the Year for Duke Lemur Center

__dlc-ayeaye.win.duke.edu_lemur-center_home_dharing_Animal Photos 4-05_animal photographs_coquerel's sifakas_2015 infants__ pc 7199_DSC2776EDThe Duke Lemur Center announces their first birth of 2015. Lupicina, a female Coquerel’s Sifaka, was born on January 8.

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__dlc-ayeaye.win.duke.edu_lemur-center_home_dharing_Animal Photos 4-05_animal photographs_coquerel's sifakas_2015 infants__ pc 7199 6985_DSC2962Photo Credit David Haring/Duke Lemur Center

Lupicina’s parents are female Euphemia and male Lucius Verus.  She weighed less than a quarter-pound at birth (about 103 g) and is doing well under Euphemia’s care.  Lucius Verus and the baby’s uncle Thrax are gradually being introduced to mom and baby.

Found only in Madagascar, Coquerel’s Sifakas are a type of Lemur.  They are most well known for their unusual method of locomotion called vertical clinging and leaping.  While in a vertical posture, they leap up to 20 feet through the trees using only the power of their back legs, not their arms.  On the ground, they hop sideways on their back feet while standing erect.

Sifakas are named for their distinctive “shif-auk” call they make while moving through the treetops.  In the forest, they feed on young leaves, fruit, tree bark, and flowers, and have been recorded foraging on 98 different plant species.

Highly social, Sifakas live in groups of three to 10 animals.  The Sifaka colony at the Duke Lemur Center has produced more young than any other colony in the world.  About half of the Center’s 60 Sifiakas live at zoos around the United States. In Madagascar, Sifaka populations have declined by half in the last 50 years, primarily due to habitat destruction and hunting pressures.  They are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Jovian, Star of Zoboomafoo, Passes at Duke Lemur Center


On Monday, November 10, 2014, ‘Jovian’, an endangered Coquerel’s Sifaka Lemur and star of the popular children’s show “Zoboomafoo”, passed away. Today we are sharing pictures of Jovian from 1994, when he was a new zoo baby!


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Jovian was famous as "Zoboomafoo" the leaping, prancing otherworldly star of the PBS KIDS show by the same name, hosted by brothers Martin and Chris Kratt. He was a graceful, long-limbed co-star with cream and russet fur and bright, intelligent yellow eyes and he taught millions of children what a Lemur is. The show aired 65 episodes in just over two years, 1999-2001, and continues in syndication.

Brothers, Martin and Chris, created the show to teach children about wildlife. They chose a talking Lemur puppet as their co-host, but they also wanted to use footage of a real Lemur in the show, as well. Duke Lemur Center, at Duke University, where Martin Kratt graduated with a zoology degree, was contacted and Jovian became a star.

Jovian was living at the Duke Lemur Center, when he passed away from kidney failure at the age of twenty. He leaves behind seven children, four grandchildren, and two more grandchildren on the way.

Duke Lemur Center is encouraging fans of Jovian to share their memories on the centers facebook page: http://facebook.com/dukelemurcenter

Meet Duke Lemur Center's Sifaka Babies

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Two female Sifaka lemurs, Gertrude and Eleanor, were born on January 5 at the Duke Lemur Center. Gertrude weighed .23 pounds (105 g) at birth and Eleanor—a big girl!— weighed .25 pounds (117 g).  

Gertrude is the daughter of mom Pia and dad Jovian – Jovian being the famous lemur that played Zoboomafoo in the popular kids show by that name on public television. Eleanor is daughter to Rodelinda and Marcus. Both infants are in the process of being introduced to their fathers and siblings, and all is going well.

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Photo credits: Duke Lemur Center / David Haring (2-6)

These infants add to a total of only 60 Coquerel’s Sifaka in captivity, an Endangered species in Madagascar due to deforestation and hunting pressure. All Coquerel’s Sifaka in captivity live in the US and are managed by the Duke Lemur Center. 

Twenty-nine live at the Lemur Center and the remainder are on loan to nine other facilities for Species Survival Plan breeding recommendations. The Coquerel’s Sifaka at Duke Lemur Center are the only members of this particular lemur family, the Indriidae, in captivity in the US for research and conservation. 

See more photos after the fold.

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Hello World, Meet Hiddleston and Poots!


The Duke Lemur Center is proud to announce the births of two Blue-eyed Black Lemurs, one male – Hiddleston – and one female – Poots. Like many species in this genus, these lemurs are sexually dichromatic, meaning the the males and females are different colors (black and reddish brown respectively).

Named for actor Tom Hiddleston, Hiddleston was born to mother West and father Hopkins on March 24, 2013. He weighed a healthy 82 grams at birth. Poots, named for Imogen Poots, was born on March 27, 2013, to parents Margaret and Tarantino. Poots weighed 92 grams at birth. West and Margaret are first-time mothers, and both are doing a fantastic job with their new little ones.

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The successful births of Hiddleston and Poots contribute a great deal to the conservation of this species. The Duke Lemur Center currently houses North America’s only breeding females of Blue-eyed Black lemurs: West, Margaret and Foster. These females hold the key to the conservation of this species of lemur because of dramatic habitat loss in the wild and the limited breeding population in captivity. With expert care (and some very handsome Blue-eyed Black Lemur males), DLC is hoping for many more babies in the future to continue to preserve these rare, beautiful lemurs.

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Photos of Hiddleston (the reddish little guy) by David Haring. Photos of Poots (the lighter little guy in the first and last photos) Fallon Owens

Hold On Tight, Baby Sifaka!


Meet Beatrice of Swabia, the newest addition to a noble line of Coquerel’s Sifakas at Duke Lemur Center. She has a close-knit family: a five-year-old mother, Rodelinda, an eight-year-old father, Marcus, and an older sister, 23 month-old Bertha of Sulzbach. (Duke Lemur Center is certainly proud of their Sifakas: the whole family is named after Roman Emperors.)

Photo credits: David Haring / Duke Lemur Center

Beatrice of Swbabia—Beatrice for short—is a healthy little heir. She weighed a respectable 107 grams at her birth on December 19th, and has since been growing in leaps and bounds.  She clings tightly to her mother, another sign of good health, but also spends some time with her father and sister who hold and groom the new baby.

Sifakas are named for their distinctive “shif-auk!” call.  They are known for their graceful sideways leaping across the ground, a dance that they share with ten other diurnal members of the lemur family Indriidae.


“Sifakas are really one of the Lemur Center’s flagship species,” says Andrea Katz, the Duke Lemur Center animal curator. The Duke Lemur Center was the first to ever successfully breed Sifakas. Only 56 Coquerel’s sifakas live in captivity. The Lemur Center owns every single one and manages them either on-site or through cooperative breeding loans with 9 other institutions across the United States. 

“We’ve learned a lot over the years about sifaka behavior, breeding behavior, mother-infant behavior… I think it’s fair to say that the Lemur Center is really viewed as the expert on Sifaka breeding management.”

Take a leap across the fold!

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Baby Mouse Lemur Season Finale!

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Back in July we brought you Duke Lemur Center's first batch of wriggling baby Mouse Lemurs! Today we officially bring the season to a close and what a successful one it's been! A total of twenty infants, ten males and ten females, have been born this summer with the last birth on August 10th. The oldest mouse moms were four year olds Oleander and Calendula and the youngest was 10 month old Nettle. 

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As an added bonus, Duke Lemur Center has also shared photos of their tiny Fat-tailed Dwarf Lemur babies, marking the first successful birth of this species since 1987! This unique animal is the only tropical mammal as well as only primate anywhere known to hibernate. Unlike cold weather hibernators, the Fat-tailed Dwarf Lemur appears to enter periods of dormancy during drought. While hibernating, this lemur lives off of stores of fat in its tail. Despite having a name that's a mouthful, this species is one of the smallest of all primates.

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_3DH3115_cm7123 7124 7125EDPhoto credits: David Haring / Duke Lemur Center

Welcome to Baby Mouse Lemur Season!

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The Duke Lemur Center is smack-dab in the middle of baby Mouse Lemur season with seven little ones, born to four mothers, in the month of June alone. Four more Mouse Lemur females are pregnant so there are more of these feisty little guys on the way. The first photo shows a set of frantic Mouse Lemur triplets who arrived on June 5th. The second photo and video show a much calmer singleton. These four are named Bluebell, Blackberry, Pipkin and Dogbane.

Gray Mouse Lemurs are among the world's smallest primates, weighing only about 1/8th of a pound as adults At night this species hunts alone, leaping between thin branches in the treetops. By day they curl up in tree holes with up to fifteen other Mouse Lemurs to sleep in a furry heap. There are seventeen different species of Mouse Lemur, but they all look nearly the same, making research challenging. Only through genetic testing can scientists be sure of what species they are observing. 

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Three Little Lemurs Thriving at Duke Lemur Center


Red Ruffed Lemur triplets were born May 10 to mom, Pyxis, and dad, Hunter, at the Duke Lemur Center at Duke University in North Carolina. There are two males and one female and they are all healthy and well.  Whereas last week Pyxis was still carrying them in her mouth, and on nice days might take them to a high shelf on her outdoor habitat,  they are now at the stage where they are making their first independent, albeit clumsy, forays away from their mom and the laundry basket that has served as their nest.

Hunter has been locked inside from free-ranging and is living in an adjacent area. He has been introduced to Pyxsis and their offspring. While he doesn’t interact with them much, he does appear to stand guard over them on the rare occasions when Pyxis leaves to eat. Male guarding behavior in Ruffed Lemurs is fairly common.

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Photo Credit: Duke Lemur Center