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Targeted Impact Gifts

2020 Priority Needs for Special Gifts to the Duke Lemur Center: $5,000 – $99,999

While unrestricted donations are always needed, appreciated, and directed toward priority needs of the DLC, these special targeted impact gifts are identified priorities for the DLC as options for donors considering larger contributions between $5,000 and $110,000. Some of these opportunities can be divided into two or three annual payments to fulfill the total funding needed. Please direct questions to our development officer, Mary Paisley, at

Funding Opportunities: Animal Care

Blood chemistry analyzer:
FULFILLED! Thank you to Linn and Robert Feidelson for providing this gift!
The Abaxis VS2 would allow us to run bloodwork in-house in as little as 12 minutes with samples as small as 2 drops of blood. Having this capability is crucial in emergency situations when we need to know an animal’s internal organ function and can’t wait for results to come back the next day. This is important for the care of our entire colony but especially essential for the 65 small nocturnal animals where every drop of blood counts.

Radio replacement:
The DLC relies on handheld radios to stay in contact with each another and to convey critical information in a timely manner to any one of the 30 employees on our 80-acre site. Our current professional durability radios are approaching the end of their lifespan and need to be replaced.
$105,000 – We’d love to fulfill this need with ten $10k+ donations!

Adding improved mini-free range rooms in NB 107:
The cages in NB 108 are working really well and are a much better option for housing fat-tailed dwarf lemurs and singletons or pairs of galago moholis.

Kawasaki Mule for animal technicians:
FULFILLED! Thank you to the Edwards Foundation for providing this gift! This all-terrain vehicle is important for transporting animal technicians, vet technicians, supplies, and lemurs (in crates, of course!) to and from our nine natural habitats and animal care buildings.

Testing and veterinary supplies:
Each of the more than 220 animals at the DLC receives a thorough physical exam every other year and has 24-hour access to world’s best lemur veterinary medicine.

Veterinarians & veterinary technicians:
The DLC generates revenue to cover the salaries and benefits of most of its veterinary team. This gift will support lost revenues in this category due to COVID-19 closures.

New digital x-ray system for veterinary department:
FULFILLED! Thank you to the many donors on Giving Tuesday 2020 who gave just over $20,000 to complete the funding of this project! Our current x-ray system is outdated and in need of replacement. A new digital x-ray system will greatly improve our quality care of the colony.
$20,000 to complete the funding of this $110,000 equipment need.

Food specialty items:
These are unique food items such as nuts, worms, and crickets that we procure for certain species within the colony.
$16,000 or three $5,000+ donors are needed to fulfill this need.

Special animal enrichment supplies:
FULFILLED! Thank you to Martha Seeligson, Trinity ’87 for providing this gift! Providing for the mental well-being of every animal is the focus of our enrichment program and is just as important as a proper diet and safe habitat.

Animal enrichment program support:
This gift is needed to support a portion of staffing expenses that would otherwise be funded by revenues lost due to COVID-19 closures.
$15,000 or partial support at $5,000+.

Animal camera project:
New cameras and maintenance of existing cameras allow our staff to check on animals at any time day or night. For animals like our aye-ayes, who are experiencing their new outdoor enclosures for the first time, these cameras are critical to monitoring their safety and documenting their reaction to a brand-new world.

Funding Opportunities: Non-harmful Research

Malagasy field station:
This field station in Anjajavy (northwestern Madagascar) is needed to support the DLC’s torpor research with wild dwarf lemurs. It will also serve as a training site for students and scientists.
$##,### – Cost assessment for this exciting DLC opportunity is in progress. Let us know if you are interested and we’ll keep you posted.

Ultracold freezer:
This freezer is needed for the preservation of invaluable biological samples collected non-invasively during veterinary procedures and made available for scientific research (genomics, immunology, endocrinology, metabolomics, etc.). We need two freezers. The price is for each unit.
$15,000 for one unit or $30,000 for both units.

Scientific freezer:
Needed for the preservation of cadaveric specimens made available for scientific research (anatomy, biomechanics, ontogeny, etc.). All DLC animals continue to contribute to research, even beyond their natural lifespan. We need two units. The price is the cost for a single unit.
$10,000 for one unit or $20,000 for both units.

Endocrine plate reader:
This will enable the DLC to do in-house hormonal work in our newly constructed molecular lab, benefiting veterinary care, staff scientists, and visiting researchers by providing more immediate results with less expense than the traditional method of shipping samples off-site for analysis. The cost additionally includes the desktop computer and software necessary to run the plate reader.

Research supplies:
These supplies are necessary for biological sample preparation and preservation.

Funding Opportunities: Madagascar Conservation

New generation environmental education for Malagasy youth:
Support the DLC’s partnership with a Malagasy educator who created an interpretive center and garden for environmental education. Your gift of $8,000 will provide Malagasy youth groups and conservation clubs the opportunity to visit his garden for a value-added environmental lesson plan the DLC co-created with him. In total, 80 students (ages 6-12) will visit the garden and learn about the value of biodiversity. In addition, your gift will support training two other educators and a college intern to provide program outreach by extending this valuable experience more broadly into the northeastern SAVA region of Madagascar.

Madagascar reforestation:
Support our reforestation efforts in Madagascar. We are thrilled to now have five communities in the northeastern SAVA region of Madagascar that have agreed to partner with us to achieve mutual reforestation goals to plant 50,000 tree seedlings by mid-2021. Your gift will contribute toward the program’s management, engaging over 3,000 Malagasy community members, as well as 300 university students and staff to manage the effort by providing: training, planting of seedlings, oversight, maintenance, management of tree nurseries, and transportation. All included, this program costs a total of approximately $1 per tree. Thank you to the Cooke family for supporting reforestation in 2020. We are now seeking support to expand our reforestation efforts in 2021.
$5,000 or more ($50,000 needed).

Empowering women through farming:
Support our training workshops and consultations in sustainable agriculture for 150 women, many who are sole providers for their family. Since 2019, we have been hosting workshops in organic and sustainable farming techniques with 150 farmers. Thus far, 30% of participants have made their own home gardens. Now, we will focus specifically on developing new skills for women in farming, hosting workshops and consultations and creating a women’s organic farming cooperative.

Fuel-efficient stoves project:
Support our research and development on fuel-efficient stoves for cooking with charcoal and firewood. Nearly all people in SAVA cook with charcoal or firewood, often on open fires which are not fuel-efficient. We have partnerships with a local NGO to obtain high-quality fuel-efficient stoves that require 1/3 as much fuel as traditional stoves. We will conduct information campaigns and distribute stoves to 1,000 households and conduct follow-up surveys.
$5,000 or more ($30,000 needed).

Travel to Madagascar:
The DLC’s conservation staff travel between Durham and Madagascar to oversee active projects and meet with our Malagasy partners.

Family planning:
This provides Malagasy women with reproductive choices by making contraceptives and counseling available. Thank you to the Cooke Family for supporting this need in 2020. We are seeking a new commitment for 2021.

Vehicle operation:
FULFILLED! Thank you to Bob and Sue Knox for providing this gift! The DLC must maintain a vehicle to support its conservation work in Madagascar. These funds maintain the annual vehicle maintenance and a salary for a driver.

Conservation operations support:
FULFILLED! Thank you to the Cooke family for providing this gift!  This gift will support the DLC office in Madagascar and one of our Malagasy staff.

Funding Opportunities: Division of Fossil Primates

Fossil ICU:
FULFILLED! Thank you to Drs. Russel and Elisabeth Cook for providing this gift! The importance of this project is difficult to understate. Our collection of fossils from Egypt is globally unique, especially the collection from L-41. The quarry is the most fossil-rich place in Africa between the extinction of dinosaurs and the evolution of apes, and the DLC is the only place where these fossils can be studied. Technically, half of the L-41 collection is in Cairo, but they have a revolving door of staff and most of the fossils are still wrapped in toilet paper. And that’s it. The fossils are at the DLC and one museum in Cairo.

MicroCT scanning:
Our scanning operations are crucial as we race against the elements to create a digital, 3D record of our collection before the North Carolina weather gets the better of it. Traditional paleontology was based on collections visits. Researchers would need to physically visit a collection to examine the specimens. Specimens could also be loaned, but that meant only one person or team could work with a fossil at a time. Researchers also needed to know the collection existed in the first place.

Additional Options

If you are interested in finding a special purpose for a gift ranging from $5,000 to $99,000, the Duke Lemur Center is happy to discuss with you our current priority needs and options for your gift to make a significant impact immediately. Please contact our development officer, Mary Paisley, at or 919.401.7252. For information about gifts of $100,000 or more, please visit our Major and Principal Gifts page.