Lucrezia the aye-aye receives a pineapple

By DLC Registrar and Photographer David Haring

Most folks know Charlie Welch as the DLC’s Conservation Coordinator, as well as the leader of the amazing Duke Alumni tour of Madagascar. But Charlie is also a master gardener and every summer manages a fabulous organic vegetable garden yielding pounds and pounds of fresh greens and other veggies for sifaka and other leaf-loving lemurs! Charlie also manages the tropical garden along the DLC tour path, which occasionally surprises us with some unexpected tropical bounty. This year, the tropical garden yielded a harvest of two pineapples! Alas, one was stolen away by a raccoon; but one survived and was harvested for DLC staff to present to one of our prosimians. 17-year-old female aye-aye Lucrezia was the lucky recipient of the first-ever “DLC fresh-NC grown pineapple award,” and her keeper, Brittany, presented it to her yesterday!

In case Lucrezia might have a hard time recognizing a whole pineapple as a fruit (aye-ayes’ fruit is generally presented in cut-up chunks), Brittany spread a bit of honey on the leaves, which Lucrezia spent a fair amount of time licking clean. So much time, in fact, that the DLC photographer had to leave for the evening before Lucrezia’s leaf-licking was completed! This morning, Brittany checked Lucrezia’s enclosure first thing and was a bit disappointed to see an apparently intact pineapple sitting on the shelf. Closer inspection, however, revealed that what APPEARED to be whole pineapple was ACTUALLY completely hollowed out, with a single one-inch-diameter hole Lucrezia had fashioned to allow access of her tapping finger to the fruit’s juicy interior!