Duke Lemur Center in Durham, North Carolina, recently announced the birth of its first baby of the season. The endangered animal has been named Marie and is the granddaughter of the lemur from the PBS show Zoboomafoo.
Little lemur Marie surprised veterinarians to become the newest addition to the North Carolina center that works to protect her species. The Duke Lemur Center is the world’s largest and most diverse collection of lemurs – Earth’s most threatened group of mammals – outside of Madagascar, as per its website. According to the Duke Lemur Center, Marie's mom Gertrude was on birth control so she wouldn’t conceive early on in her relationship with Remus. However, it turns out that in lemurs as well as in humans, no contraception method is 100% effective.
In her first few weeks, the baby primate was seen clinging onto her mom and snuggling with a stuffed animal. Marie was the first baby born this season at the Durham facility, according to its post.
Her grandfather is the late Jovian, a Coquerel’s sifaka lemur who starred as “Zoboomafoo” in the PBS children’s television show by the same name. Jovian was the center’s most famous resident, known to children around the world as the dark brown-and-white primate who appeared in 65 episodes of Zoboomafoo from 1999 to 2001. Brothers Martin and Chris Kratt created the show to teach children about wildlife.
The Coquerel’s sifaka, is a “critically endangered” species that faces habitat loss in its native Madagascar. Greg Dye, executive director of Duke Lemur Center, said Marie’s “birth strengthens the genetic safety net” that helps preserve her species. The tiny primate was less than 1 pound when she was born Feb. 23, and the family has “settled in well,” Williams said.
“Any first-time mom or dad knows how stressful figuring out how to be a good parent can be,” Dye said, according to the center. “To see these two first-time parents be so successful is a huge tribute to them and to the DLC’s amazing staff.”