As a part of our ongoing quest for knowledge, my friend, Linda, and I took a walk on the wild side recently. Or more accurately, we took a walk among the wildlife. We visited the Duke Lemur Center and enjoyed a guided tour around the beautiful setting of the center, meeting several of the inhabitants along the way. Who knew Durham had an 85 acre Lemur sanctuary hidden away among the trees?
The tour began with a short video about the lemurs. We learned that they evolved in isolation on the island of Madagascar (off the coast of Africa) and flourished, as they had few natural predators. Until the arrival of humans, that is. Since then many species of the lemurs have become extinct and many are now endangered, as their habitat continues to diminish. This group of lemurs (about 233) make up the largest population of lemurs outside of Madagascar.
The purpose of the center is to study the lemurs in as natural a way as possible to understand their physiology and social habits and then work to apply this knowledge to conserve the species in the wild. The lemurs are not touched by anyone except medical staff when necessary, so they keep their natural habits and behaviors.
It wa s a bit of a challenge to get pictures through 2 layers of chain link fencing, but here are a few of the lemurs we met. The first picture here is of a blue-eyed black lemur. At one point in their evolution, a group of black lemurs became isolated from the others and developed blue eyes. This fellow’s name is Elvis. We also met Olivier!
Next we have some ring- tailed lemurs frolicking in the forest. Notice how high they hold their long tails. That is so they can be seen as they run in the tall grasses of their habitat in Madagascar. I liked the ring -tails best.
The various species of lemurs at the center are named along a variety of themes. They have the soda pop group, which included two lemurs we met, Canada Dry and Ginger Ale, another group had Egyptian names, and then there was Charlie, more formally known as Charlemagne and, of course, the blue-eyed group. Next we have a family group – those
Linda and I throughly enjoyed our visit to the Duke Lemur Center.We are never too old to learn , especially about the other creatures who share this planet with us.Our thanks to our tour guide, Becky, for sharing her knowledge of the lemurs with us.
I couldn’t leave without picking up a few lemurs for my grandkids, and one for me . I decided to use the theme approach to naming them and since this is my Gone With the Wind weekend in Atlanta with my friend Kathi, I went with Scarlett, Rhett and Ashley! If you get a chance, check the lemurs out. It’s a great way to spend a sunny day!