Where Are They Now? Lemurs Let Loose Live


Ten years ago, thirteen lucky lemurs were taken from Duke's primate center and the Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City, and other facilities, and let loose in their native lands in Madagascar.

These were black and white ruffed lemurs, Varecia variegata variegata. They are rain forest dwellers native to Madagascar.

Several were almost instantly eaten by predators, which is not at all surprising because the Predator IQ is pretty much determined by environmental factors in primates (as is intelligence in general). Of the original 13, three survive today.

Lemurs being lemurs, there was also romance, and in the end there are now six or more offspring born of five of the original animals. Most of the offspring that were born in the wild were also eaten by predators, more than would have happened if they were born of wild primates, most likely. This is not surprising, since the ability to do complex thing in primates is not inherited genetically, but rather, passed on through cultural processes, and none of the original lemurs were savvy about predators.

Hopefully as generations go by, the survival rate will go up, and if that happens fast enough, this group will not go extinct.

The story is detailed, with more pictures and even sound files you can listen to, here at Duke's site.

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Came here through the last 24 hours page. It is an interesting read.

How many generations would it take before the survival rate would be (roughly) the same as for wild lemurs?

By Who Cares (not verified) on 08 Nov 2007 #permalink