This photo shows three adult red-fronted lemurs (Eulemur rufus) sitting in a row on a branch, in a free-range forest enclosure at the Duke Lemur Center in the summer of 1984. Notice the hand of an infant otherwise almost completely hidden from view. We have chosen this image to represent a landmark event at the DLC: the birth of the first lemur infant, named Red Child, born in 1966 to parents Calo and Thurber.
This image is the first in a series celebrating our upcoming 50th anniversary. For the next 50 days we will publish a different photo daily, each illustrating a significant event in each of our 50 years. In assembling such a collection, one thing becomes immediately clear: it is an impossible task! The Lemur Center has always been a vibrant and diverse community comprised of an extraordinary collection of fascinating animals, dedicated caretakers and brilliant scientists. There are also the many students who are drawn here, catch the “Lemur Bug”, and proceed to forge their own careers unlocking the secrets of lemur biology or working for the conservation of these most endangered animals. In this environment, one that is never static and never predictable, but always a living breathing work in progress, it would be impossible to document all of the highlights of the last half-century with one photo per day much less one for each year!
Please enjoy our 50 days of photos this small representative collection of the Lemur Center’s remarkable history. As you do so, we invite you to not only celebrate our first 50 years but also to help us prepare for the next.