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Meet the newborn lemurs at Duke named for 'Star Wars' and 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'

Gellar is blue-eyed black lemur. She was born on March 14, 2018 at the Duke Lemur Center.
Gellar is blue-eyed black lemur. She was born on March 14, 2018 at the Duke Lemur Center. Duke Lemur Center

With less than an estimated 1,000 blue-eyed black lemurs left in the world, two blue-eyed black lemurs born at the Duke Lemur Center in March are healthy and thriving with their families.

Gellar, named after the blue-eyed actress Sarah Michelle Gellar, was born on March 14 weighing 2.5 ounces.

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Gellar, middle, eats leaves with her older sister, McKinnon, left, and her mom, Wiig, right. David Haring Duke Lemur Center

Hamill, named after the Star Wars actor Mark Hamill, who portrayed Luke Skywalker and also has blue eyes, was born on March 22 and weighs 2.54 ounces. They picked the name Hamill because some of the staff are "Star Wars" fans.

Hamill, the actor, noticed on Twitter he had been named after the baby lemur:

Blue-eyed black lemurs are among the world’s top 25 most endangered primates. With Gellar and Hamill, the Duke Lemur Center now has 8 male and 7 female blue-eyed black lemurs.

‘Furia,’ a baby Coquerel’s sifaka, clings to her mother Gisela’s back as the two lemurs await peanut treats from primate technician Melanie Currie at the Duke Lemur Center on Wednesday. Furia was born on Jan. 10.

It’s estimated blue-eyed black lemurs could become extinct by 2026 because of habitat loss, forest fragmentation, and hunting pressures in Madagascar where most of them are found, the Duke Lemur Center reported.

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Hamill being weighed David Haring Duke Lemur Center

Both babies and their moms remained separated from the rest of their families for less than a week to increase the babies’ chances of survival, as is done at the Duke Lemur Center when the females give birth.

Gellar’s mom, Wiig, was protective of Gellar when she was introduced to the family just six days after birth, making sure both Gellar’s sister, McKinnon, and her dad, Hiddleston kept a safe distance.

By March 27, Gellar was climbing off her mom and exploring the enclosure on her own.

Hamill’s mom, West, likewise kept other family members from getting close to the baby lemur upon introduction on March 27. Hamill can now be seen as far as a foot away from his mom. His older brother, Lincoln, spends a lot of time next to Hamill and can be seen grooming and playing with him.

In the wild, infant mortality rates are between 25 to 50 percent, depending on the species, but the lemur babies born at the Duke Lemur Center have almost a 100 percent survival rate.

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