Lemurs: Everything You Could Ever Want to Know About World's Most Endangered Mammals

A huge database containing 48 years of life history data for the Earth's most endangered group of mammals, lemurs, is now available online. Visitors can view and download data for more than 3,600 animals representing 27 species of lemurs, lorises and galagos.

An infant aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis)(David Haring/Duke Lemur Centre)

The Duke Lemur Centre in Durham, North Carolina, is the world's largest and most diverse collection of lemurs outside of Madagascar.

Staff at the centre observe and record virtually every aspect of an animal's life from cradle to grave. For each animal they know when it was born, who its parents were, how fast it grew, what it ate, which animals it mated with, how many offspring it had, and when and why it died.


The hope is that the data will result in better care for lemurs in captivity, and help scientists understand these animals in order to better protect them in the wild.

IBTimesUK presents a gallery featuring some of the centre's inhabitants. Visit the Duke Lemur Centre website to find out more about the project.

The aye-aye is often considered to be the strangest primate in the world. The nocturnal creature's diet is very specialised, leading to it evolving bizarre physical features such as incisors that are continually growing, extremely large ears, and a long skeletal middle finger. The aye-aye taps on branches, using its large ears to listen out for the tell-tale echo of a tunnel, then it rips the bark off with its front teeth, and inserts its middle finger to pull insect grubs out. Think of it as the woodpecker of the animal kingdom.(David Haring/Duke Lemur Centre)
A 65-day-old aye-aye named Claudia is weighed at the Duke Lemur Centre.(David Haring/Duke Lemur Centre)
Three mouse lemurs (Microcebus murinus). Grey mouse lemurs were thought to be the smallest living primate, until the pygmy mouse lemur (Microcebus myoxinus), thought to be extinct, was re-discovered.(David Haring/Duke Lemur Centre)
The red-ruffed lemur (Varecia rubra) has a thick coat of deep chestnut fur, well suited to Madagascar's tropical rain forests. It is critically endangered because of an increase in illegal logging and hunting(David Haring/Duke Lemur Centre)
Three red-ruffed lemur babies are cared for at the Duke Lemur Centre. Unlike most lemurs, ruffed lemur females give birth to litters of up to six infants (two or three is more typical).(David Haring/Duke Lemur Centre)
A red-ruffed lemur infant yawning.(David Haring/Duke Lemur Centre)
Three young red-ruffed lemurs.(David Haring/Duke Lemur Centre)
Ringtailed lemurs (Lemur catta) are the most easily recognisable lemur and the most common in captivity. The males are equipped with scent glands on their wrists which they use in "stink fighting" with a rival male.(David Haring/Duke Lemur Centre)
Two black and white ruffed lemurs (Varecia Variegata) sit on their nesting box(David Haring/Duke Lemur Centre)
A mother and infant black and white ruffed lemur. They are critically endangered in Madagascar, but they thrive in captivity, making them perfect candidates for reintroduction into the wild.(David Haring/Duke Lemur Centre)
A mother and infant blue-eyed black lemur. The males are completely black, while the females are reddish brown.(David Haring/Duke Lemur Centre)
A young male blue-eyed black lemur has a treat at the Duke Lemur Centre.(David Haring/Duke Lemur Centre)
A Coquerel's sifaka (Propithecus coquereli). These animals are distinguished from other lemurs by their mode of locomotion; they maintain a vertical posture and leap through the trees using just their back legs. On the ground, they use an elegant, dancing, bipedal sideways hopping motion.(David Haring/Duke Lemur Centre)
A Coquerel's sifaka hangs in a tree. Sifaka are found in the dry northwestern forests of Madagascar.(David Haring/Duke Lemur Centre)
A fat-tailed dwarf lemur (Cheirogaleus medius). Their diet consists mostly of fruit and flower nectar, but they also eat insects and small vertebrates.(David Haring/Duke Lemur Centre)
Two baby fat-tailed dwarf lemurs.(David Haring/Duke Lemur Centre)
Jonas, at the age of 29, is the longest-lived captive dwarf lemur in history.(David Haring/Duke Lemur Centre)
The pygmy slow loris (Nycticebus pygmaeus) is native to parts of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, but its habitat was devastated during the Vietnam War.(David Haring/Duke Lemur Centre)

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