Infant ring-tailed lemur being held by two gloved hands

The DLC’s vet team gently handles one-day-old baby Jasper during his first infant wellness exam. Photo by Sara Sorraia.

On the morning of March 23, 2023, the Duke Lemur Center’s animal care team went to check on expecting ring-tailed lemur mom Alena and were delighted to see that she had given birth overnight to a healthy 69g male infant. Jasper is Alena’s third son with her partner, Stewart.

Alena has plenty of experience as a mom: In the previous two springs, she and Stewart have welcomed Atticus and Mr. Popper to their family. Both boys have already taken an interest in their little brother and will make excellent playmates once Jasper gets a bit bigger.

Infant ring-tailed lemur clings to mom's back in the middle of the forest.

At just one month old, Jasper is currently the youngest forest free-ranger at the DLC. Photo by Sara Sorraia.

As of 2021, baby ring-tailed lemurs born at the DLC have been given literary names. Jasper’s name, chosen by the animal technician who takes care of Alena’s family, comes from the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. In the books, Jasper Hale is a vampire and the adoptive brother of Edward Cullen.

Baby ring-tailed lemur rides mom's back in the forest, with other ring-tailed lemurs out of focus in the background.

Baby ring-tailed lemur tails look like black and white striped shoelaces! Photo by Sara Sorraia.

Jasper and his family will spend the summer exploring four acres of forest in one of our natural habitat enclosures. He’s growing quickly, and our animal technicians have already observed him trying to snack on some leaves. For now, he’s still small enough to backpack on mom, but eventually he’ll run alongside his older brothers!

Jasper, ready to start exploring the world. Photo by Sara Sorraia.