Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Lemurs - the Next Generation

Less than a month old, Pia's infant, Conrad, has a face that already hints at the handsome sifaka he will become.
Photos by David Haring

Duke Lemur Center is happy to present the tiny Coquerel's sifaka above. He is Pia's third offspring and Trajan's 40th grandchild.(See previous blog post.) This fine, young male was just named Conrad for Conrad II, Holy Roman Emperor and descendant of Charlemagne. The name presages the magnificent creature Conrad will become.
Pia, Conrad's mom
When it comes to parenting, Pia is one of the best. That has been a boon to this wee one, who was born with a low birth weight. Added to the low birth weight, mom had trouble producing milk for her baby, so the Primate Technicians stepped in to help - feeding Conrad six times per day to supplement mom's milk. Pia is being given medication to stimulate milk production and to assure her health and recovery from giving birth. While the Lemur Center prefers to allow the mom to care for her offspring naturally, we step in when needed to assure the best situation for the lemurs.

Pia has been very attentive to her new son. She grooms him, helps with his toileting, keeps him warm, and protects and cuddles him. The Primate Technicians and the Lemur Center veterinary staff have been very attentive to both Pia and Conrad - helping Pia recover from the rigors of birthing, helping her stimulate milk production, and making sure both mom and son could thrive.

It is paying off! Pia is regaining her vigor and now producing milk, and her son is gaining weight, eating hungrily, and beginning to jump and play like the healthy young sifaka he is becoming. Soon Pia and Conrad will rejoin their sifaka social group, and the new young male will be able to play with his two siblings.

Pia - with Conrad's older brother

Pia - with Conrad's older sister
You can schedule a tour to visit the lemurs by calling 919.489.3364. Come see us!


  1. As usual, great pics! We hope Conrad quickly reaches normal weight.

  2. Daniel,
    Conrad is gaining well. He is adorable. He was the first baby sifaka I had ever seen. The Primate Technicians, of course, have a lot more experience than I do.

    When I first saw Conrad, he was clinging to Pia's tummy - down low, so it looked like maybe her tail was curled up between her legs. When Sam (Tech) put him on the stuffed lemur to weigh him, I could see those big eyes and that dear face. He was slender then, but is rapidly plumping up.

    Oh, Sam tells me that they put the baby with the stuffed lemur to weigh him because his instinct tells him to cling. He is much more relaxed and comfortable clinging to the stuffed animal while being weighed. Then Sam gently placed him back on Pia.

    They are both doing well!

  3. Aloha Lari - I didn't know about the use of a stuffed faux mother for weighing, but it makes sense. Sifaka definitely like to hug :-) In Berenty they would hug each other, trees, sign posts and occasionally people's legs! We are very happy to hear Pia and Conrad are doing well. We hope to visit the DLC sometime soon.

    -Dan & Mika

  4. Dan & Mika,
    We would love for you to visit!