Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Duke Lemur Center says farewell to the last Golden-crowned sifaka in captivity

Titus, the last Golden-crowned sifaka (Propithecus tattersalli) in captivity died. Titus was born in the wild in Madagascar in 1983. He came to the Duke Lemur Center in 1993, where his gentle nature made him a great favorite.

To the folks who work at Duke Lemur Center, every lemur, loris, and galogo matters. Even so, Titus stood out. Not only did he become the last of his kind in captivity at age 25, but his kind (Propithecus tattersalli) is highly endangered, occurring only in a tiny region in Madagascar - an island off the coast of Africa. This restricted distribution makes this sifaka particularly susceptible to habitat loss and local hunting pressure. The only golden-crowned sifaka in the world struggle to survive in an area about the size of Durham County.

And in Durham County, the final golden-crown in captivity lost his individual battle to survive, but only after a valiant effort by the Duke Lemur Center veterinary staff to give him a long and high quality life. He received individual attention daily for all of his 15 years at the DLC. His final days were filled with tender rubs under his arm (a favorite of his), gentle words softly spoken, and repeated attempts to tempt him to eat with special treats selected just for him by Bevan Clark, his primary Primate Technician.

Titus will be missed.

We will be posting memories from folks who knew him well and remember him with great fondness.

1 comment:

  1. Not to denigrate the good folks at the Lemur Center, I'm sure they've asked themselves this many times, but it seems like breeding each individual in such a restricted population would be important. So, did we get as much good data from him in his captive period as good memories, or would he have been better off breeding in the wild?