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Duke Lemur Center’s ‘birth season’ begins with three newborns

Warble a pygmy slow loris born on Jan. 18 and her mother, Junebug.
Warble a pygmy slow loris born on Jan. 18 and her mother, Junebug. Duke Lemur Center Photographer David Haring

The Duke Lemur Center welcomed three new bundles of prosimian joy last month.

On Thursday, the Lemur Center announced the birth of its third infant, Warble, a pygmy slow loris. Warble was born on Jan. 18 to parents Junebug and Nox.

Lorises like Warble aren’t actually lemurs – they’re prosimians that are closely related to lemurs. Lorises are the most endangered of all the non-lemur prosimians, according to Sara Clark, director of communications at the center.

“They’re cute, and that cuteness can be detrimental to their survival as a species because, sadly, it makes them appealing as pets,” Clark wrote in an email Thursday. “The Duke Lemur Center is absolutely against all trade in pet primates and against the holding of any prosimian as a pet.”

The other two babies were born earlier in the year. Gothicus is a Coquerel’s sifaka born on Jan. 6 through cesarean section to parents Antonia and Gordian. At just 76 grams, Gothicus had the smallest birth weight of any lemur of his species ever born at the center, Clark said.

Furia, another sifaka, was born Jan. 10 to parents Fisela and Rupert. Furia is a granddaughter of perhaps the most famous celebrity lemur, Zoboomafoo (aka Jovian) and she’s the sister of Hostilian, last year’s “Blizzard Baby” who was born during a “hostile” winter storm.

Warble, Gothicus and Furia are the first infants to be born at the center this birth season, which usually begins in January and can last through summer.

Walk with the lemurs at the Duke Lemur Center as a mother lemur show off her newborns during a public tour in May 2014. The Durham, N.C. facility is home to the world's largest lemur habitat with over 200 lemurs representing 17 species on 80 acres

Different species give birth at different times, and sifakas typically kick off the birth season. Other babies are expected later this year, including from a blue-eyed black lemur mom and a mongoose lemur. Those infants are expected in March. The center typically has 10 to 15 infant lemurs born per year.

In the past 50 years, the center has had more than 3,285 births.

VIDEO: The Duke Lemur Center is celebrating the birth of a male born to a sifaka lemur named Gisela, the daughter of Zoboomafoo. The tiny lemur arrived during a January 2016 winter storm.

Breeding is tightly controlled at the center, since it adheres to the Species Survival Plan from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The plan outlines breeding plans for each species as determined by a team of experts, which selects breeding pairs based on how genetically valuable their offspring would be to the captive population.

If the love match isn’t in-house, the center sends its lemurs to other facilities or might welcome a new addition to the center to make the love connection.

In a milestone for the planet’s most threatened group of mammals, the Duke Lemur Center welcomes two baby ring-tailed lemurs in this June 2015 file video. The public will be able to meet the babies for the first time at Lemurpalooza on June 20th.

The lemurs have themed names according to their species, so sifakas like Gothicus are named for Roman emperors and rulers.

For more information on the Lemur Center go to lemur.duke.edu.

Abbie Bennett: 919-836-5768; @AbbieRBennett

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