Duke welcomes baby lemur during winter storm

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Duke Lemur Center welcomes new baby

A baby lemur was born at the Duke Lemur Center Saturday, right in the middle of last week's snow storm.

He's still too young to even be a part of the center's tours, but Thursday, ABC11 had exclusive access to him.


We got to see what a 5-day-old baby Sifaka lemur looks and sounds like. The wide-eyed primates are the most threatened mammals on earth. Making sure they are healthy during their first few days is critical for their long-term survival.

The staff at the Duke Lemur Center is working around the clock to care for the new addition.

"We come in and check to make sure everyone is strong and healthy," said vet technician Meghan Davidson. "We weigh them on days 1, 2, 3, and 5 to make sure the baby is gaining weight."

But, this baby came into the world when it wasn't so easy for staff to get to him.

"We didn't know it was going to happen exactly during this winter storm that we had, but we had a good idea that he would be coming sometime during that week," Davidson explained.

When Davidson got the call Saturday morning, she walked two miles in the snow to get to the new baby.

"Once my car couldn't make it out of the driveway, I was able to walk through the snow of Duke Forest to get to work and check on him," Davidson recalled. "We do try to check on every lemur on Day 1 of birth, so coming in here and making that happen was very special to me."

Davidson made sure the baby lemur was off to a good start, but she couldn't just cuddle him herself. In these crucial few weeks, he needs to bond with his mom.

"On the day of his birth, we removed infant from mom. He was really active, clinging tightly to mom," Davidson shared. "[He was] bright, vocal. We checked him out, made sure that he was healthy, that everything looked great, that he has all his fingers and toes, and then gave him right back to mom."

He's already gained 6 grams, and he's proven he can survive a storm.

We have to wait until the baby lemur turns 30 days old before the staff gives him a name. That's how sensitive the first few weeks of life are for these animals.

Once we reach that point, they will name him after a historic Roman figure.

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Related Topics:
petsendangered speciesbaby animalsdukeDurham
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