Thank you for your interest in the Duke Lemur Center! Located on 80 acres in Durham, NC, the Duke Lemur Center is home to the largest and most diverse population of lemurs in the world outside their native Madagascar. Tours are available by appointment. If you wish to unsubscribe from this newsletter, a link is provided at the end of this issue.

Fossils rewrite the story of lemur origins

"In a study published August 21 in the journal Nature Communications, researchers have re-examined Propotto’s fossilized remains and suggest that the strange creature wasn’t a bat, but an ancient relative of the aye-aye, the bucktoothed nocturnal primate that represents one of the earliest branches of the lemur family tree." Read the full story on Duke Today.

95% of lemurs "on brink of extinction"

The work of the Duke Lemur Center to protect lemurs and their habitat in Madagascar has never been more important! The vast majority of lemur species—unique primates found only in Madagascar—are on the brink of extinction, according to leading primate conservationists who gathered to review the conservation status of Madagascar's 111 lemur species and subspecies. The newly updated assessments for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species find that 105 species are provisionally evaluated as critically endangered, endangered, or vulnerable, underscoring lemurs' position as the most endangered primates in the world.

According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the damage is so extreme that almost all populations are on the brink of extinction. To read this full press release, click here.

As a result of this news, Frank Stasio interviewed the Duke Lemur Center's Curator, Cathy Williams, on WUNC 91.5 North Carolina Public Radio's show The State of Things. To read more on the interview and for a link to it on the WUNC archives, click here

Wondering how you can help? Gifts to our Madagascar Programs Fund support our conservation work on the island. Learn more here, or better yet, join us for our Mission: Madagascar event on September 15th!

REGISTER NOW for Mission: Madagascar

Don't miss out: Sept.15th will be a very special evening at the Duke Lemur Center! Our goal is to raise much-needed funding for our Madagascar Conservation Programs! With a gift of $125 (admission for one), a gift of $250 (admission for two), and other recognition levels - including a VIP reception for gifts of $1,000 or more - you will enjoy an evening under the stars with lemurs and lemur-lovers alike! You get a glimpse of areas like our veterinary lab and kitchen that you won't see on the public tour path or at our Lemurpalooza events! Explore more about the event and register through the link below.

Be a Mission: Madagascar Sponsor

Sponsorship recognition levels begin at $500. For more information, visit our sponsors page!

Your sponsorship of the Mission: Madagascar event will support Madagascar Conservation Programs of the Duke Lemur Center.

Mission: Madagascar Auction Items Needed

If you have connections with a local business, artist, etc., these are the kinds of auction items we are looking for:

  • Gift certificates or gift cards in any amount
  • Physical items with an estimated value of $250 or more like jewelry, art, and lemur or Madagascar collectibles
  • A unique experience with an expert or VIP (like a cooking lesson with a local chef)
  • A week or weekend at a vacation home

To register an item for our auction, click on the button below. If you have any questions, please contact our Development Officer, Mary Paisley at 919-401-7252 or 


Announcing September 21st Lemurpalooza!

Fall Lemurpalooza

Friday, September 21, 2018
4:00 P.M. - 7:00 P.M.

Reserve your space for the next wildly popular family-friendly Lemurpalooza event. For a gift of $75, you get admission to the event for one vehicle and its occupants AND you can choose a lemur species to "adopt" at the end of the event. Don't wait - this event sells out! For more information, click on the button below.
Check out this great video featuring compelling info about lemurs and how to save them, created by local high school students taking part in the Duke Nicholas School of the Environment‘s Environmental Science Summer Program (ESSP).

Lemurs can smell weakness

Some people watch the competition carefully for the slightest signs of weakness. Lemurs, on the other hand, just give them a sniff.

These primates from Madagascar can tell that a fellow lemur is weaker just by the natural scents they leave behind, finds a study on ring-tailed lemurs led by Duke University researchers. Males act more aggressively toward scents that smell “off.” 

Read more of this story HERE.
Photos of an indri (above) and a diademed sifaka (below), courtesy of Laura Branan.

Magical Madagascar Ecotour 2018 is a wrap!

By Mary Paisley, Development Officer 

Duke Alumni Travel is already accepting reservations (three spaces filled as of today) for the 2019 tour, scheduled for June 9-22, 2019.  For more information, click HERE. For questions or to reserve your space by phone, call Duke Alumni Travel at (919) 684-2988.

With the Duke Lemur Center's Conservation Coordinator, Charlie Welch, leading the way and amazing local guides arranged by Terra Incognita Ecotours and their on-the-ground Madagascar partner, Pure Tours, the 2018 ecotour of Madagascar through Duke Alumni Travel was a huge success! We enjoyed sharing the experience with 11 participants from across the U.S. The tour was from July 15 - August 1, 2018. Read more about the 2018 tour here.
Lydia Greene shares information about the work she and Marina Blanco are doing with the mobile genetics laboratory during the 2018 EcoTour in in Anjajavy, Madagascar. To read more about their ground-breaking research by clicking HERE.

Meet Laura Ellsaesser, our new veterinarian!

"I'm the staff veterinarian and have been here for nine months, living the dream! I knew from a very young age I wanted to be a veterinarian and have always been drawn to zoo, wildlife, and conservation." Read more about Laura HERE.

Research spotlight 

Impact of Human-Animal Interactions on the Behavior of Captive Coquerel’s Sifaka 

PI: Anna Januszko, Nottingham Trent University

The coquerel’s sifaka is endemic to north-western Madagascar and to the north and east of Betsiboka River. It is currently listed as critically endangered mainly due to habitat loss. Increased agriculture, deforestation, and unsustainable hunting has driven the species population decline and restricted their distribution, which has resulted in greater contact between the sifaka and human settlements. Further, it has been recently noticed that specific types of behaviors thought to be only seen in captive sifakas have been noticed in the wild sifakas. 
There is an insufficient amount of research on this topic, so this project aims to investigate the impact of human-animal interactions on sifaka behavior. The project is purely based on observations of the animals without any manipulation. I observe the animals’ behavior while noting down external factors such as keeper or visitor presence. This allows me to compare whether there is a difference or what influences the sifaka behavior. Research of human-animal interactions on captive Coquerel’s sifaka will increase understanding of the impact humans have on sifaka behavior. This knowledge can be applied to the wild populations, particularly at fragmented forest sites, where the sifaka often come into contact with human settlements. Behavior studies in captivity and knowledge of the factors that influence specific behaviors is critical for successful management and conservation of the species.
If you or someone you know is a North Carolina state employee, whether they work at a state agency or UNC System institution, pass it along that the Duke Lemur Center is eligible for contributions through their combined campaign. We hope to enlist contributions to further our work of protecting lemurs, the most endangered mammals on Earth, and their habitat in Madagascar. SECC # 3932.

Tour the Duke Lemur Center this fall!

Did you know the DLC offers ten distinct tour types, catering to a variety of of ages, interest levels, and budgets? There's something for everyone! All tour revenue and merchandise purchases fund the Education Department and help pay for lemur care, housing, veterinary supplies, and conservation initiatives -- so even if you've been here before, come back for another experience! 
If you have questions about contributing to our work now or planning a gift for the future, please contact Mary Paisley, Development Officer, at 919.401.7252. Thank you!
Copyright © 2018 Duke Lemur Center, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Duke Lemur Center, 3705 Erwin Road, Durham, NC 27705

Questions? Please visit our staff directory for contact information.

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