Friday, June 12, 2009
Lemurs - Preparing for breeding
If Tolkien looks hopeful (and remarkably appealing,) it's because he and Medusa are preparing to be prospective mates at the Philadelphia Zoo. For endangered species, such as aye-aye, keeping the gene pool vital is critical. So the Duke Lemur Center collaborates with other approved institutions around the world to carefully and purposefully breed these precious biological treasures. The breeding programs for each species are managed by a Species Survival Plan (SSP), coordinated through the American Zoological Association, which assures that genetic lines are kept viable (And you thought getting your dates past your parents was rough!)
Before Medusa and Tolkien can travel to their "romantic" rendezvous, they are receiving complete physicals by our Veterinary Department. When they reach Philadelphia, they will be in quarantine for a month (typical for all zoo to zoo shipments) to assure that no undetected diseases slip from one institution to the next.
The Species Survival Plans work both ways for the Lemur Center. June Bug, a Pygmy slow loris, just came to the Lemur Center to breed. June Bug is huge! As Lemur Veterinarian, Bobby Schoppler said, "It's like we got two for the price of one!" June Bug weighs considerably more than the average Pygmy slow loris, so Duke Lemur Center will work with her to get that weight down a bit - for her health's sake.
Then sometime in the next year or two, we should be reporting about brand new aye-aye and Pygmy slow loris infants. Good things - worth waiting for!