Happy summer from the Duke Lemur Center! Photo by Bob Karp, photojournalist and DLC volunteer.
IN THIS ISSUE: 3,300-pound carnivore discovered by DLC paleontologist, why lemurs matter, new ICU, Malagasy vet training, gala save-the-date, new Executive Director, and more!
SAVE THE DATE: Please join us for Mission: Madagascar — A Tropical Gala on Saturday, October 5 from 6:00-9:00 p.m. at the Duke Lemur Center! Mission: Madagascar is the DLC's annual gala to raise funds for our Madagascar conservation programs, which are 100% funded by private donations and grants. Registration opens in August.
WE NEED SPONSORS! A bigthanks to all of our 2018 sponsors for making our first gala a success! Learn more about sponsoring this year's event by clicking below.
WE NEED AUCTION ITEMS, TOO! We're looking for great items for our silent auction! We're especially interested in experiences. Possibilities include vacations, behind-the-scenes tours, and unique opportunities to learn new skills or engage in interesting activities.
WHY LEMURS? A lemur is more than a pretty face! ❤️ Here are some of MANY reasons these charismatic creatures are important and why studying them is so fascinating:
Lemurs are the most endangered mammals on Earth. The more we learn about them, the better we can work to save them from extinction. By studying the variables that most affect lemurs' health, reproduction, and social dynamics, we learn how to most effectively focus our conservation efforts in Madagascar.
Lemurs are the most ancestral primates. Lemurs, along with lorises and bushbabies, were the first to evolve along the primate lineage - long before monkeys and apes evolved. By studying these early representatives of the primate family tree, we gain tremendous insight into primate evolution.
We learn more about ourselves (since humans are primates) by studying lemurs. Non-invasive research with lemurs could have major implications for the treatment of human diseases like Alzheimer's. Note that all research at the DLC is non-invasive:our lemurs' well-being is our top priority, and we do not allow research that will harm our animals in any way.
Lemurs (over 100+ species!) are an extremely diverse taxonomic group and an amazing example of speciation in response to environmental niches and challenges, and thus are an ideal study system within the field of genetics/genomics.
Tsiky (left) administers a routine injection to Justa, a Coquerel's sifaka, with the assistance of vet tech Megan Davison. Supervising veterinarian Bobby Schopler looks on. Photo by Sara Clark.
MALAGASY VET TSIKY RAJAONARIVELO COMPLETES TRAINING IN LEMUR MEDICINE: Congratulations to Tsiky, who just completed three months of intensive training in lemur veterinary medicine here at the DLC! Tsiky’s internship was supervised by DLC senior veterinarian Dr. Bobby Schopler and supported by special donations to the project by generous Duke Lemur Center donors, Traveling Animal Doctors, and Mad Dog Initiative. Tsiky returns to Antananarivo this week, where she’ll use her increased knowledge of lemur medicine to improve the condition of captive lemurs (mainly captured from the illegal pet trade) on the island of Madagascar, where she is one of only five clinically trained Malagasy veterinarians.
Ozma, the DLC's beloved 34-year-old aye-aye, pictured here in February 2018. Photo by David Haring.
NEW ICU KENNEL: THANK YOU, DONORS! The DLC's state-of-the-art intensive care (ICU) kennel has been purchased and installed thanks to $10,000 in donations contributed by hundreds of donors during our Giving Tuesday fundraising effort in November 2018! Click below to learn how the ICU kennel enhanced end-of-life care for Ozma, the DLC's beloved 34-year-old aye-aye.
“I sleep easier knowing the ICU kennel is here when we need it,” says DLC veterinarian Bobby Schopler. “We’re so thankful to have this valuable tool to provide better care for lemurs in serious health situations.”
VIDEO FEATURE: The world's largest population of lemurs outside of Madagascar is right here at the Duke Lemur Center! ABC News recently featured the DLC as part of their Localish series, and we are LOVING this footage. Check out the video for ruffed lemurs scent marking, sifakas bouncing, and ring-tails stink fighting!
NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE DLC: Meet the DLC's new Executive Director, Greg Dye! If he looks familiar, it’s because Greg has worked for 11 years as the DLC's Director of Operations and Administration. He has also served as Interim Director of the DLC since June 2018. Greg will officially begin his role in July 2019. Congratulations, Greg!
The DLC's 2019 summer interns hail from 17 colleges and universities across the United States and were selected from a competitive pool of over 80 applicants. Photo by Bob Karp.
WELCOME, INTERNS! This summer, the DLC welcomes 18 interns studying field research, animal husbandry, animal welfare, education, and communications! The DLC's summer internship program offers one-on-one mentorship, group seminars, and daily hands-on experience for undergraduates and recent grads.
Drusilla's group of Coquerel's sifakas lounges in the forest before breakfast. Photo by Will Goodwin, one of the DLC's 2019 summer interns.
52 YEARS OF LEMUR DATA FREE ONLINE: The DLC’s treasure trove of data, which contains information about the lives, health, and habits of thousands of animals, dates from the Lemur Center's beginnings in 1966. The large sample sizes, exact dates of events, and longitudinal data that in many cases span an animal’s entire life make these data sets unique, particularly within the primate literature.
Enrichment is fun! And, as 10-month-old ruffed lemur Helene demonstrates, it can be super cute, too! Photo by Sara Clark.
DID YOU KNOW: One of the most important aspects of lemur care at the DLC is enrichment! Daily enrichment is an essential part of animal welfare to promote curiosity, exploration, and mental stimulation. Whether it’s weaving the perfect hammock out of fire hose, changing the structure and complexity of the branching inside our lemurs’ habitats, or introducing new smells or sights such as mirrors, our keepers are dedicated to ensuring our lemurs’ lives are interesting!
Fun toys and feeders - including Helene's feeder ball stuffed with yummy fruits and veg (above) - can be purchased by donors via the DLC’s amazon wishlist and sent directly to the DLC to use in our enrichment program, where they provide fun and physical and mental exercise for our lucky lemurs!
If you’d like to send a special enrichment item to the DLC’s lemurs, please visit our amazon.com wishlist. We, and our lemurs, would be so grateful! Be sure to include your name and email address in the notes field so the lemurs can send a thank-you!
Simbakubwa had canine teeth the size of bananas. Artist credit: Mauricio Anton.
MEGA-CARNIVORE DISCOVERED BY DLC PALEONTOLOGIST: "Take a polar bear. Take a lion. Mash them together and chuck them in a time machine, sending them back 22 million years to what’s now Kenya and you’ve got the massive carnivore Simbakubwa kutokaafrika."
It's no lemur, but this "enormous bitey mammal" was discovered by Matthew Borths, now Curator of the DLC's Division of Fossil Primates!