Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Walking with Lemurs!

What do you get when you cross a well endowed research university and an endangered species?

One answer is the Duke Lemur Center in Raleigh, North Carolina. This is the one place on Earth that Madagascar based researchers can come to see their subjects up close and personal. In the wild, lemurs live up in the canopy and are observed with binoculars.

When Lemurs Attack
These amazing animals are Coquerel's Sifaka lemurs and are the most endangered with ever dwindling native forests. Wild lemurs are only found on the island of Madagascar.

Sifakas Bounding through Duke Forest
 Sifaka lemurs are able to jump 20-30 feet from tree to tree. Seeing them in motion is a real treat.

These lemurs don't stay still for long!
 I took my younger daughter to North Carolina for the Duke Talent Identification Program 7th grade talent search Grand Recognition ceremony. As with her older sister, she got to experience the incredible Duke Gardens, Duke's Hogwarts-like campus, the library and the Carolina campus.

My brother received his P.h.D. in Journalism at Carolina. I was ornery and showed up at the Old Well with a K.U. blue Quidditch shirt and a Duke blue umbrella. It rained most of the time we were there, so the Carolina blue sky was just a fantasy for us.

While we were in the neighborhood, an only at Duke experience with the lemurs was in order.

I told you they were hungry. Yes, this close. So cool.
 The rules are pretty simple:
1. Try not to step on the lemurs.
2. Follow directions.
3. The lemurs can touch you, but you cannot touch them.
4. Take all the photos and video you want, but share them with the world.

I am gladly fulfilling that final obligation.

Yes, they really are this adorable in person.
 The red-bellied lemurs were a bit more elusive and difficult to photograph since auto-focus doesn't pick up fuzz around the edges all that well. These two species wouldn't hang out with each other in the wild, but the Duke Forest isn't exactly wild, either.

As with all programs featuring endangered species, the Duke Lemur Center is highly regulated. The outdoor compounds are fenced, but the individual animals need to be a good fit for natural experiences. The tiny and nocturnal mouse lemurs are not candidates for life in the forest.

These lemurs dine on a special lemur chow and leaves.
These animals are well tended. We saw one fall around twenty feet when a branch broke. Such is life in the trees. The individual will be observed to assure there are no broken bones.

If you live anywhere near the Research Triangle area, you should treat yourself to the Walking with Lemurs tour. The money goes directly to Duke's U.S. and Madagascar based conservation efforts. It will be the best $95 you can spend. Really, just look at the stupid grin on this child's face!

I had an even goofier grin on my face during our visit.

The full album from our trip lives on my Google+ page at Claire and Duke TIP. As always, thanks for reading!

Copyright Notice: The words and image contained herein are copyright DwayneF of Vintagetechobsessions. Love the photos, share the photos, give them a G+ thumbs up, but please don't steal. The lemurs are hungry and they might track you down.


  1. Very interesting, wish I could visit one day.

  2. What wonderful animals. My mother visited Madagascar recently (at age 80) and loved meeting some lemurs. I had no idea there was a habitat for them in the US.

  3. I have a young nephew who would love to see the lemurs... and then ask about the Penguins of Madagascar. (And something tells me I would second him on that...)

    Looks like a fantastic experience! Thank you for sharing it!


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