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FAQ: Adopt a Lemur Program

What does “symbolic adoption” mean? 

The Adopt a Lemur program is a donation-based program that supports the care of all of the lemurs at the Duke Lemur Center, as well as the DLC’s work in research, conservation, and public outreach and education.  The “adopted” lemur stays here at the DLC, where we provide high-quality food, top-notch care, and daily enrichment.

As an adopter, you’ll receive a welcome packet with information about your lemur and its species, as well as quarterly updates with photos and the latest news about your lemur and its life here at the DLC.

Please note that the DLC’s lemurs are never for sale. Lemurs are wild animals, and there are many reasons lemurs should never be kept as pets. 


What will my adoption include?

The DLC’s symbolic adoption packages start at $50, with more benefits at higher gift levels. The welcome packet’s contents vary based on your package level, but all include a personalized certificate of adoption, a fact sheet about the species, the biography of “your” specific lemur residing right here at the Duke Lemur Center, a photo, a sticker, and quarterly updates on your lemur.

The adoption lasts for 12 months and can be renewed.

Choose a species and we will select the individual.

The adoption welcome packet is mailed by USPS first class mail to you or a designated gift recipient. Quarterly updates are sent by email only.


What does my donation support? 

It costs an average of $8,400 per year to care for each animal at the Duke Lemur Center, and your donation plays a very important role in supporting those needs! Your gift helps to fund high-quality food, top-notch veterinary care, stimulating enrichment, and our work in the US, Madagascar, and around the world to study and save these endangered animals. We have more than 50 years of experience caring for and learning from lemurs. More lemurs live at the DLC than anywhere in the world outside of their native Madagascar!


How long will it take to receive my adoption?

It varies based on first class mail delivery times. Once we receive your adoption gift payment and order details, it’s our goal to have your welcome packet’s customized contents prepared and into the outgoing USPS first class mail within five business days. From there, the travel time is up to the USPS.

The fastest processing will occur if you place your adoption online via our Adopt a Lemur homepage. Within 24 hours, you should receive email confirmation from Duke University that your payment was received.  Within three business days, you will receive an email from the Adopt a Lemur program confirming the details of your order and giving you information about when your packet will be shipped.

Because of workplace restrictions due to precautions surrounding COVID-19 and delays through the US Postal Service, our packets are taking longer to arrive. We are working to get this package into the mail quickly and safely. The confirmation email you receive from our Adopt a Lemur program coordinator will give you an update on when your order will be mailed.


Is tracking information available on my mailed packet?

No. The packets are mailed through the US Postal Service, first class, for both domestic and international addresses. There is no tracking number available for this service.


I don’t live in the US.  Can I adopt a lemur?

Yes! We have donors in the program who live in 21 different countries! We can send a digital version of the Adopt a Lemur packet anywhere in the world. We can also send a mailed packet, although we have found that these can take four weeks or longer to reach destinations outside the US.


I received a confirmation from Duke University but it doesn’t say anything about the Lemur Center.  Is there a problem with my order?

The confirmation you receive from Duke University confirms that the payment was processed through the secure online site, and also serves as your tax receipt. Rest assured, the Adopt a Lemur Program receives the details of your order. Within three business days, you will receive an email from the Adopt a Lemur program confirming your order.


Is my adoption tax deductible?

Yes, your symbolic adoption includes a tax-deductible donation. Depending on the adoption packet you select, there may be a portion that is not tax-deductible. This will be detailed in the email from Duke University that is your receipt.


Can I give the adoption as a gift to someone else? 

Yes, adoptions make great gifts! In filling out our online form, please select “Is this a gift?” and you will be prompted for the gift information.  You can even add a personalized message. If you think your recipient would enjoy the quarterly updates on the lemur, please include the email address to which the updates should be sent.


I want to be environmentally friendly and reduce my use of paper.  What can I do? 

When you place your order to adopt a lemur, you can request a digital-only version of your packet for yourself or your intended recipient.  This can be put in the comments field. When you receive your confirmation about the order from the Duke Lemur Center, you will also have the opportunity to designate for your packet to be an all-digital version.  Selecting this allows us to reduce our use of paper and save on postage so more of your donation goes to lemur care!


Which lemurs can I adopt? 

The species available for adoption are listed on the Adopt a Lemur homepage and include the aye-aye, blue-eyed black lemur, black and white ruffed lemur, Coquerel’s sifaka, crowned lemur, fat-tailed dwarf lemur, mouse lemur, and ring-tailed lemur.


Can I pick any species or animal at the DLC?

You can select from eight species to adopt. Once you choose your species, the coordinator of the Adopt a Lemur Program will select an individual for you to adopt. All of the lemurs of the Duke Lemur Center benefit from the funds raised by the program, not just your adopted lemur.


Can I get a stuffed animal? 

During the winter holidays, the DLC offers the adoption of a specific species as part of a holiday package, which includes a matching stuffed animal. If available, this limited-edition holiday adoption package will be highlighted on the Adopt a Lemur homepage.

Stuffed animals are also available for purchase through our gift shop. For the latest details, please see our merchandise homepage. 


I have adopted a lemur before. Can I renew the adoption?

We would love for you to continue your support of our lemurs through this program! However, our system does not store your order or financial information from previous years, and you will need to fill out the form as if it is a new adoption. The Adopt a Lemur Program Coordinator will make sure your recipient receives the same lemur for the upcoming year, unless you select a different species.

The Program Coordinator will also send you an email reminder when your adoption is coming to an end and will  provide details on how you can continue your support.


Do lemurs make good pets? 

No! The Adopt a Lemur program exists to show your love of lemurs that remain in the care of the Duke Lemur Center.  The DLC is opposed to all trade in pet primates, and against the holding any prosimian (lemur, loris, bushbaby, potto) as a pet. For more information, please see our article Pet Lemurs: The Pet to Regret.


Can I visit the Duke Lemur Center? 

The Duke Lemur Center is currently closed to visitors due to restrictions related to COVID-19. The most current information on the status of tours will be at the link above. In the meantime, please explore our options for virtual tours and experiences.


If I visit the DLC, can I see my adopted lemur? 

Even when the DLC’s tour program reopens post-COVID, we can never promise that you will see your adopted lemur. Not all of our lemurs reside in enclosures which are accessible to our public tours. Sometimes even the lemurs on the tour path decide they want to take a break from visitors and choose to go to an area of their enclosure where they cannot be viewed. If you tell your tour guide that you have adopted a lemur, the guide can let you know if there is a chance to see that lemur.


Can I schedule a tour to see my lemur specifically?

We are unable to arrange tours to see a specific lemur. Our tours are designed to allow you to view and learn about a number of species rather than being limited to one species or one lemur.


Whom should I contact with questions?

Please contact the Adopt a Lemur Program Coordinator at adoptalemur@duke.edu.


Are there other ways to support the Duke Lemur Center?

Yes! Please see our donations homepage to view other programs you can support.  You can also email our development officer, Mary Paisley, at mary.paisley@duke.edu to discuss opportunities for support and your own personal interests.  The Duke Lemur Center relies on gifts from individuals and businesses and we greatly appreciate your interest in our work!