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Love and Lemurs on Valentine’s Day

collage of 3 photos of lemurs with red hearts and yellow and purple flowers

What’s better than sending flowers for Valentine’s Day? Sending LEMURS, too!

For a $25 minimum donation, the Duke Lemur Center will send a special Valentine’s Day video to you to share with those you love! Featuring the DLC’s lemurs playing with edible flowers, “candy” hearts, and even a kissing booth, this video valentine is guaranteed to warm the hearts of your loved ones.

Starting Feb. 12, Valentine’s Day messages will be emailed before 10 a.m. the morning after your order is placed. Once you receive your email message, you can then share it with whomever you’d like, at any point during Valentine’s Day weekend! To order, click the button below to be directed to Duke’s secure online payment site.

This promotion ended at 3:00 p.m. on February 14, but you can still make a donation to the Duke Lemur Center in honor of someone you care about! Here’s how to make a donation in honor or in memory of someone.


Details

Commonly asked questions

How does it work? One gift of $25 or more through the link above buys you access to our lemur valentine page to view our adorable 2021 Lemurs and Valentines Video, which you can then share along with your own personal message with all of the people you care about throughout Valentine’s Day weekend!

How much is it? We request a minimum donation of $25. If you plan to forward the valentine message to more than one person, please consider increasing your gift to the DLC. With the disruption of our tour and merchandise income and cancellation of fundraising events like Lemurpalooza, your gift means more than ever to us!

Where does my donation go? Your tax-deductible donation will support the DLC's conservation breeding program through the purchase of a new wireless handheld ultrasound. Our Valentine's Day fundraising goal is $5,000 to purchase the new wireless ultrasound probe and associated hardware. Funds raised beyond the $5,000 goal will go toward other breeding program expenses. For more details, please see the "What your donation supports" section of the webpage.

When will I receive my Valentine's Day message? On Valentine's Day weekend, you (the donor/purchaser) will receive an email from the Duke Lemur Center with a special Valentine’s Day message. It will include the link and password to access and view the Lemurs and Valentines Video page of our website. You can then forward this message at any point during Valentine’s Day weekend to your chosen recipient(s).

Orders placed by February 12 at 8:00 a.m. will receive their Valentine’s Day message on Friday, February 12, before 10:00 a.m. Orders placed after 8:00 a.m. on February 12-13 will be delivered the next morning, by 10:00 a.m. Orders placed after 8:00 a.m. on February 14 will be delivered by 4:00 p.m. For additional details, see the "What to expect" tab below.

I didn't receive an email from the DLC on Valentine's Day weekend. What should I do? If you do not see the email in your inbox, please check your spam and/or junk folders. If it isn't there, please email mary.paisley@duke.edu.

Can the DLC mail a valentine to a physical ('snail mail') address? Nope. These valentines can be sent via email only.

How late can I submit my order? For delivery on Valentine's Day, the absolute deadline to order is 3:00 p.m. EST the afternoon of February 14.

What to expect on Valentine's Day weekend

On Valentine's Day weekend, the Duke Lemur Center will send you (the donor/purchaser) an email with a special Happy Valentine’s Day message. It will include the link and password to access and view the Lemurs and Valentines Video page of our website.

You can then forward that email message to your friends and family, including adding your own special message to each recipient before forwarding it to them. You will be able to share the video with those you care about throughout Valentine’s Day weekend, whenever works best for you!

For orders received BEFORE 2/12 at 8:00 a.m. EST: On February 12, the Duke Lemur Center will send the video link to you (the donor/purchaser) in an email.

For orders received AFTER 2/12 at 8:00 a.m. EST: You (the donor/purchaser) will receive an email from the Duke Lemur Center at or before 10:00 a.m. the morning after your order is placed. We will accept orders until 3:00 p.m. EST on February 14. All remaining valentines will be sent before 4:00 p.m. that day.

If you do not see the email in your inbox, please check your spam and/or junk folders. If it isn't there, please email mary.paisley@duke.edu.

Tax receipt

Your Valentine's Day donation is tax-deductible! Once your donation is processed through Duke's secure online payment site, you will receive a receipt separately from Duke University for your tax records. This will serve as your confirmation that the gift was properly credited to the DLC's unrestricted gifts fund, from which donations will be disbursed to pay for the new ultrasound device. Funds raised beyond the $5,000 goal will go toward other breeding program expenses.


What your donation supports

This year, all donations support the DLC’s conservation breeding program through the purchase of a new wireless handheld ultrasound! Small and portable, the new ultrasound device will allow our veterinarians to perform pregnancy checks in the lemur’s normal environment without the stress of transporting her to the veterinary building or bringing in scary-looking, bulky equipment.

Veterinarian Bobby Schopler with the large ultrasound machine (left) vs small wireless machine (right)

The new ultrasound probe would measure 6” x 2.75” – about the size of a television remote, used here to demonstrate scale – and connect wirelessly to an iPad outside the lemur’s enclosure. The new device “will allow us to perform pregnancy checks in the lemur’s normal environment without the stress of bringing in scary-looking, bulky equipment,” says veterinarian Bobby Schopler, D.V.M., Ph.D. 

Using positive reinforcement training, we can condition a momma-to-be to stand upright with her hands resting on a bar, and to allow us to touch her tummy first with a lemur-safe ultrasound “gel” (applesauce works and provides a tasty treat for the lemurs to lick off afterward) and then with the ultrasound probe.

Using a smaller, wireless probe instead of our current machine would make this process much easier: lemurs wouldn’t need to be desensitized to a cord—which looks like a snake, a natural predator of lemurs in Madagascar—or to the bulky rolling cart.

The large machine would remain stationary in the vet building where it will be used for more detailed diagnostic ultrasounds. (It’s higher frequency probe and large screen allow for better resolution; fortunately that level of detail is not needed to identify a pregnancy!) In the lemurs’ home enclosures, the wireless probe would be used instead.

Our Valentine’s Day fundraising goal is $5,000 to purchase the new wireless ultrasound probe and associated hardware, and funds raised beyond the $5,000 goal will go toward other breeding program expenses. We’re so grateful for your support!

a female blue-eyed black lemur learning to stand upright (left) and eating leaves with her first offspring (right)

Working with her keeper, Becca, blue-eyed black lemur Velona is learning where to stand up and place her hands on a bar for a future ultrasound exam. The ability to take regular, low-stress ultrasounds throughout a pregnancy may be especially valuable for lemurs like Velona, who has a history of late and breech births. (Pictured at right with her first daughter, Ranomasina.)

DLC keeper Julie uses positive reinforcement training to teach four ring-tailed lemurs to voluntarily stand on a scale

By using positive reinforcement training to teach husbandry behaviors such as voluntarily sitting on a scale or standing for an ultrasound, health exams become positive interactions with the animal care staff and help us provide the lemurs with the highest quality of care – with as little stress on the animals as possible. (And of course, plenty of tasty treats!) Note: This photo was taken pre-Covid; masks are now required everywhere onsite.


Questions?

If you have questions or need help completing your order, please contact Mary Paisley at mary.paisley@duke.edu.