The Duke Lemur Center in North Carolina is not just a safe haven for the endangered primates — it may be a key safety net for the entire species.
Lemurs are the most endangered mammal group on Earth, with roughly 95% of lemur species at risk of extinction, according to the Duke Lemur Center.
Follow NBC 7 San Diego’s Dagmar Midcap, host of “Down to Earth,” and LX News storyteller Cody Broadway as they take you inside the Duke Lemur Center in Durham, to meet the lemurs and the devoted team of scientists and researchers fighting to save them. Watch their stories below.
Chapter 1: The Amazing Anatomy of Endangered Lemurs
Lemurs are even more fascinating than their popular representations in the movie “Madagascar” or the PBS show “Zoboomafoo” would suggest. With incredible senses of hearing and smell, and a long bony finger for seeking out food in hollow logs, lemurs have evolved into unique and special creatures.
Chapter 2: The Race to Save an Injured Lemur
At the Duke Lemur Center, each one of the lemurs is precious. So when a staff member notices an injured lemur, the whole team mobilizes to protect it. Dagmar Midcap follows the team as they rush to save a lemur, named Cassia by the staff, who has been bitten by a venomous copperhead snake.
Chapter 3: A Unique Place in the Ecosystem
There are 108 species of lemur — each with its own distinct characteristics that give it an important place in its ecosystem. And they are almost all highly endangered. The team at the Duke Lemur Center explains why their facility provides such a unique opportunity to closely study many different types of lemurs — and why that research is so important.
Chapter 4: Next Stop, Madagascar
The work of the Duke Lemur Center may be based in North Carolina, but it starts in the villages of Madagascar. That’s why the team is preparing for a months-long trip to the African island nation. That’s also the next stop for Dagmar Midcap and the “Down to Earth” team, who will join them there as they continue their research and conservation efforts.