Today I went with six other keepers on a trip to the Duke University Primate Center. Only a few of us could go because we had today off from work. It was incredible.
All of the animals there are lemurs. What is a lemur, you might ask yourself?
A lemur is a type of prosimian primate that is wild only on the island of Madagascar. Lemur in Latin means “ghost” and many of the Malagasy people believe lemurs are similar to spirits or ghosts because of their haunting stare and night activity.
They have lemurs there that no other institution in the world have. There are several smaller enclosures, but then the have large 15-acre fenced areas of forest where the animals can “free range.” Each of us followed around one of their keepers in the morning, then we all went to the different free range areas.
The lemurs would all come swinging out of the forest and converge on us, since they knew that their keeper had food. It was like something out of a movie. Then we got to feed them raisins by hand.
Here I am with Titus, a Golden-crowned Sifaka. He’s one of only two in captivity. (I just gave him an almond…I don’t know why I’m making that face.)
A Coquerel’s Sifaka. I got so close!
After lunch we checked out the nocturnal species. We had to wait until the afternoon to see them because that’s when the lights in their rooms go out and they start becoming active. You probably have never heard of Aye-ayes. But they’re really weird……weird but awesome. They have a freakishly long finger that they use to tap on tree trunks and find grubs.
The only lamentable thing that happened was a mishap with some bleach. My green corduroy pants are now ruined.
PS – If you’re wondering about the title of this entry, it was the response of a staff member when we asked her what they use to capture an escaped lemur.