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Targeted Impact Gifts

2020 Priority Needs for Special Gifts: $5,000 – $110,000

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 Mary Paisley, Development Officer at


Food Specialty Items:
These are unique food items we procure for certain species within the colony. (Nuts, worms, crickets)
$16,000 or three $5,000+ donors are needed to fulfill this need.

Special Animal Enrichment Supplies:
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 just experiencing the outdoors these cameras are critical to monitoring their safety and documenting their reaction to a brand new world.

Animal Care – Radio Replacement:
The DLC relies on handheld radios to stay in contact with other another and to convey critical information in a timely manner to anyone of 30 employees on our 70 acre site. Our current professional durability radios are approaching the end of their life and need to be replaced.
$105,000 – We’d love to fulfill this need with under ten $10k+ donations

2020 Veterinary Department – Testing & Supplies:
Each of the more than 220 animals at the DLC receive a thorough physical exam every other year and have 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.

Veterinary Department – New Digital X-Ray System
Our current X-ray system is outdated and in need of replacement.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. Detailed description is at the bottom of this page.
$110,000 or two years at $55,000


Research – Malagasy Field Station:
This field station in Anjajavy 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.

Research Equipment – Ultracold Freezer:
This freezer is needed for the preservation of invaluable biological samples collected noninvasively during veterinary procedures and made available for scientific research (genomics, immunology, endocrinology, metabolomics, etc.) We need 2. The price is for each unit.
$15,000 for one or $30,000 for both

Research Equipment – 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 2 units. The price is the cost for a single unit.
$10,000 for one or $20,000 for both

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


Conservation – Travel:
Travel to Madagascar. The DLC’s conservation staff travel between Durham and Madagascar several times each year to oversee active projects and meet with our Malagasy partners.

Conservation- Reforestation:
This supports our reforestation project on the ground in Madagascar.

Conservation- Family Planning:
This provides Malagasy women with reproductive choices by making contraceptives and counseling available.

Conservation- Vehicle Operation:
The DLC must maintain a vehicle to support its conservation work in Madagascar. These funds maintain the annual maintenance and salary for a driver.

Conservation Operations Support:
This gift will support the DLC office in Madagascar and one of our Malagasy staff.


Fossil ICU:
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.

New x-ray system needed – $110,000


Click anywhere on the poster above for a larger view.

The Duke Lemur Center has a new and “highest priority” major gift opportunity within our veterinary department. This is a $110,000 need/opportunity, and we would be thrilled to recognize the donor with a special plaque on or beside the machine during its lifetime.

Here is a note from our veterinarians, Drs. Schopler and Ellsaesser:

The veterinary team at the Duke Lemur Center is seeking a donation to make possible the purchase of some very important pieces of equipment for the veterinary department that will provide a more advanced technology to support the care of the lemurs at the DLC.

Our current x-ray machine is very old and could stop working at any time, leaving us without one of the most important diagnostic tools in veterinary medicine. A new unit will allow us to image with less radiation and less anesthesia time. The new system would be DR (Digital Radiology), which means:

   * Instantaneous images no waiting for an image to develop as we do now, which currently takes about 2 minutes per image with our existing machine. Getting high-quality images quickly reduces a lemur’s time under anesthesia, which helps the lemur recover faster and reduces the risk of complications

   * The detail of DR digital imaging is tremendous and we will be able to magnify images without losing detail, thus improving our diagnostic capabilities. This is especially important when examining soft tissues – for example, checking for an obstructed GI tract, an enlarged heart, or a mass in the liver.

   * The images are easy to look at, send off for second opinions, store digitally, and refer to remotely.

Some of our animals are so small that we will be able to take x-rays of their hands using the dental x-ray equipment (mouse lemurs and fat tailed dwarf lemurs). Most of the animals we x-ray are larger and require a standing table machine. All this adds up to an improved quality of care for the lemurs, and better health long term.

Thank you for your help!

Ultimately, this opportunity will provide not only vastly better tools for the vet team and improved care of our lemurs, but also improved efficiency that will impact other areas of our work, including an enhanced capacity for analysis within non-invasive research projects. If you are interested in more information, please call Mary Paisley at or 919.401.7252.

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.