New arrival falls for blue-eyed femme fatale

November 8, 2011 § 1 Comment

Duke, the newly arrived Sclater's lemur

Edinburgh Zoo’s latest arrival, a rare Sclater’s lemur named Duke, seems to have fallen for one of the Zoo’s most formidable females, the feisty Noemie.

Sclater’s lemurs are also known as blue-eyed black lemurs, though the female of the species is actually a reddish brown or blonde colour. They are the only primate species, other than humans, to have blue eyes.

Primate keeper Georgina Cook said: “Duke joined our lemur group two weeks ago as part of an exchange programme to encourage mating. Our previous male Bobby has gone to join Banham Zoo in Norfolk. While it is still early days, Duke is showing a definite interest in our rather bossy female Sclater’s lemur, Noemie.

“Duke seems happy to let Noemie take the lead and has been following her around, which has helped him find his way through the large lemur enclosure and back to their house via the aerial walk-way. They sit close together and keepers have spotted some mating behaviour.”

“In contrast to his mate, Duke is much more laid back. Noemie will sometimes chase the other lemurs and steal their food, but Duke tends to mind his own business.”

Fiesty female Noemie

“Sclater’s lemurs are classed as critically endangered by the IUCN Red List, meaning they face an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild, so any birth at Edinburgh Zoo would be a boost to the conservation of these rare primates.”

Edinburgh Zoo’s Sclater’s lemurs share a large outdoor enclosure with the red-bellied lemurs and mongoose lemurs.

In the wild this species is confined to a limited range of less than 3,000 kilometres in North-West Madagascar, making these lemurs very vulnerable to habitat loss through deforestation.

The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, which operates Edinburgh Zoo, is working with the Lemur Conservation Association to protect this endangered species and establish a reserve in their native range in Madagascar.


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