Duke Lemur Center mourns the lost of TV star - DatelineCarolina

Duke Lemur Center mourns the lost of TV star

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Smith says that lemur research is helping Duke learn more about human's capabilites when it comes to learning. Smith says that lemur research is helping Duke learn more about human's capabilites when it comes to learning.
Visitors walk around the 70 acre santuary to learn about lemurs and their habitats. Visitors walk around the 70 acre santuary to learn about lemurs and their habitats.

 By: Safaniya Stevenson

Duke University in Durham, NC is best known for its basketball team and medical school. This month the university is being recognized for another reason, the Duke Lemur Center.

The Duke Lemur Center was highlighted this year after the death of one of their lemurs, Jovian. Millions of fans mourned the death of the lemur that starred in the PBS Kids show Zoboomafoo.

Jovian, aka Zoboomafoo died on November 11, 2014. The 20 years old is survived by his second wife, seven children, and four grandchildren.

The center hopes that his loss will rejuvenate people's fascination and curiosity about lemurs.

Shari Goodman says that even though she grew up in the area and had never visited the lemur center.

"I was born and raised here and I have actually never been here before and it's something that has always been in the back of my mind of something I needed to see. So I finally, at 27 years old, made it here," said Goodman.

The Duke Lemur Center is a 70 acre sanctuary for prosimian primates. The center is the largest collection of these primates outside of the home country of Madagascar.

Chris Smith is the education specialist at the center who says the center uses admission fees to educate the public about lemur.
 

"My favorite thing about the center is the multi faceted nature of what we do here. The center sits right on the intersection of research, conservation, and education," says Smith.

Conservation is very important to center according to Smith. He says the Duke Lemur Center is doing everything it can to prevent the extinction of the species.

"Lemurs today are considered the most endangered group of mammals on the planet. More than 92 percent of all of the different types of lemurs in Madagascar, and there are actually more than 80, are considered vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered," explains Smith.

The center gives tours year-round and even gives visitors the chance the adopt a lemur. The Adopt-A-Lemur program funds the centers conservation efforts and the cost of maintaining the center. Smith says caring for each lemur a year cost around $8000 per year. 

The center is home to over 240 lemurs.



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