Births Of Rare Lemurs At Duke Primate Center

Note to editors: To arrange interviews or filming of the new lemur babies, contact Dorothy Clark or David Haring at (919) 489-3364. A color photo, by David Haring, of the hand-raised baby aye-aye being fed is available on the web as a jpeg image at <>, under the slug "aye-aye."

DURHAM, N.C. -- The Duke Primate Center was greeted this spring with the birth of an unusual number of babies of rare species.

This spring's infant crop include:

  • Three Coquerel's sifakas: Livia II, Eugenius and Antonia. Sifakas are agile, long-limbed animals, and Coquerel's sifakas have striking maroon and white fur.

  • A golden-crowned sifaka baby, bringing the total number of these beautiful animals in captivity to four, all of which are at the Primate Center.

  • Two aye-aye babies, one of which has remained with its mother, and another which is being hand-raised, since its mother was unable to feed it. A third aye-aye, Ozma, is pregnant. Aye-aye are exotic, gnome-like nocturnal lemurs that roughly resemble a cross between a bat, a beaver and a raccoon.

Primate Center officials said the little animals represent confirming evidence that the center understands the nutritional and maintenance needs of the highly endangered animals.

Colony Manager David Haring said this spring represented a "highly successful" birthing period for these three rare species.

"The number of births is especially large for the aye-aye, because of the lengthy period between births for that species," he said. "And this is only the second birth ever for the golden-crowned sifakas."

The first golden-crowned infant born in captivity last year died, Haring said, but the Primate Center hopes this second infant will represent the first

Contact: Dennis Meredith
Duke University

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