Duke Lemur Center welcomes rare baby aye-aye, known as one of the strangest primates in the world

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Meet Melisandre, a baby lemur born at the Duke Lemur Center who is one of only 25 of her kind in the U.S.

"Mel" is a rare baby aye-aye, a long-fingered lemur. She's the child of Ardrey and Grendel. You can debate the cuteness (or creepiness) of her all day, but you can't argue with Mel's spirit and curiosity, which is a common trait in lemurs.

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Melisandre after she was born.

David Haring/Duke Lemur Center

Mel was born on Aug. 13. She was weighed at 81 grams the next day. Her keeper, Matt Cuskelly, says that, despite being small, Mel seems bright, alert and strong.

The Lemur Center says aye-ayes are endangered on Madagascar, their native island. Logging and hunting have brought their population numbers down in recent decades.

"They're not at all aggressive, they're extremely curious and energetic and they're very intelligent," DLC curator Cathy Williams said. "They learn very quickly."

Melisandre peeks over the edge of the scale during her weekly weigh-in.

David Haring/Duke Lemur Center

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