‘Our Aim is That No Lemurs Reside Alone’

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When lemurs develop outdated, their actions turn into slower and stiffer. They wobble on branches they may as soon as grip with ease. Typically their tooth comb, a bunch of enamel used for grooming, falls out, which makes it tougher for them to maintain their fur fluffy on their very own. So the perfect companion for a geriatric lemur is one other geriatric lemur, somebody who doesn’t need to tumble round however is content material to take a seat collectively and help in grooming. “Younger ones might be too rambunctious,” Dr. Grebe stated.

To her credit score, Cheyenne by no means settles for simply any geriatric lemur. Some time again, the keepers tried to introduce Martine, a feminine collared lemur, to Chloris and Cheyenne. Chloris didn’t thoughts — a cordiality maybe aided by her cataracts. “She doesn’t care what something seems like,” Ms. Keith stated. However Cheyenne confirmed her enamel, stared down the brand new lemur and finally chased her off. Ms. Keith stated that Cheyenne might be bossy however that Martine was notoriously fractious: “She was not placing out the correct vibes for Cheyenne.”

Nonetheless, Cheyenne and Chloris are open to aged singletons becoming a member of their enclosure within the D wing. Till a number of months in the past, the lemurs have been cohabiting with Pedro, a really outdated mongoose lemur who cherished kiwis, till he died.

Wild lemur populations are sometimes sympatric, that means they stay in the identical geographic space. However scientists have solely not often noticed totally different species interacting with one another, in response to Dr. Tecot. One 2006 research discovered that topped lemurs and Sanford’s lemurs in Madagascar shaped a polyspecific affiliation, speaking and coordinating their actions over time. Pairing between lemurs of various species appears even rarer, if it occurs in any respect. Dr. Tecot, who co-directs the Ranomafana Purple-Bellied Lemur Challenge in Madagascar, has by no means seen any mixed-species pairings within the wild.

In captivity, these pairings can supply insights into how lemurs might type interspecies companionships, in response to Ipek Kulahci, a postdoctoral researcher on the College of Notre Dame.

Cheyenne and Chloris, who will each flip 33 this April, wouldn’t have the power to play anymore. However they nonetheless soak within the solar of their outside enclosure and keep heat of their sleeping baskets, that are padded with fleece blankets to cushion their outdated bones.

Lately, Chloris has been having extra forgetful episodes during which she appears unaware of the place she is — her keepers name them “senior moments,” Ms. Keith stated. However when Chloris returns to lucidity, in her good eye, she sees she continues to be with Cheyenne.

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