Infants Announced: Two Critically Endangered Blue-Eyed Black Lemurs Born at the Duke Lemur Center
We’re thrilled to announce our newest arrivals: two critically endangered Eulemur flavifrons infants, McKinnon and Poehler!
Both blue-eyed girls were born within a day of one another: McKinnon on March 22 to parents Wiig and Hiddleston, and Poehler on March 23 to West and Quinn.
The blue-eyed black lemur has one of the smallest ranges of any lemur species and is protected in only a tiny area of Madagascar, Sahamalaza National Park. Sadly, because Sahamalaza is susceptible to wildfires and other pressures on the forest, the species is at risk even within the park. Those factors – a narrow geographic range, a single park protecting their natural environment, and a habitat under pressure – have resulted in blue-eyed black lemurs’ CRITICALLY ENDANGERED conservation status. In 2015, it was estimated that the blue-eyed black lemur could go extinct in the wild as little as 11 years due to habitat loss, forest fragmentation, and hunting pressures (Volameno et al.).
There are only four female blue-eyed black lemurs of breeding age in North America. Of these, three reside at the Duke Lemur Center: Margret, Wiig, and West. The fourth, Poots, was born at the DLC but lives at the Los Angeles Zoo with Kilmer, her dark handsome companion. Kilmer, too, resided at the DLC before traveling to Tinseltown.
While we’re elated by the births of these two blue-eyed beauties, we know it’s not enough to care for lemurs only in North Carolina. Not only does the DLC fund major conservation projects in the SAVA (northeastern) region of Madagascar, we’re also assisting Parc Ivoloina in Tamatave, Madagascar (on the island’s eastern coast) with its own blue-eyed black lemur breeding program. The DLC and Parc Ivoloina have worked together since 1987, and Parc employees have received training from DLC veterinarians and staff on-site in Madagascar as well as at the Lemur Center in Durham, NC.
Together, blue-eyed black lemurs at the DLC, Parc Ivoloina, and other institutions worldwide form a genetic safety net for their species. Each new birth helps sustain a healthy and genetically diverse population of blue-eyed black lemurs for the long-term future.
Welcome to the world, McKinnon and Poehler! We’re so happy you’re here!
More great info about the blue-eyed black lemur (Eulemur flavifrons) is available on the species homepage on the DLC website. Information about our breeding program, most recent births, and the AZA’s Species Survival Plans is available here. You’ll also find a gallery of ALL of the DLC’s 2017 infants!
Want to learn even more about blue-eyed black lemurs AND help support their care, not only here but also in Madagascar? Consider symbolically adopting Presley, a male blue-eyed black lemur, through the DLC’s Adopt-A-Lemur program! Adoption packages start at just $50.
For more images of McKinnon and Poehler, keep scrolling! Enjoy!