As many of you may know we lost our Red Ruffed matriarch, Cynthia, last spring. It was unexpected and a very hard loss for us keepers. However, she was 35 years old and had lived a great life. She had 17 offspring in her lifetime and was in the first generation of captive born Red Ruffed Lemurs.
Iris, one of her two daughters that lived with her at the Museum, had been diagnosed with renal disease about 2 1/2 years ago. She also had an inoperable mass on her liver. Our veterinarian, Dr. Vanderford, and the veterinarians at the Duke Lemur Center believed that she was not in pain and that we could keep her comfortable until it was her time. After Cynthia died, Iris slowly started to decline and the hard decision to humanely euthanize her was made. While we had been prepared for this decision for a while it definitely did not make it any easier. She would have been 25 years old this year, and, while not as impressive as her mom, is still old for a Red Ruffed Lemur.
Since lemurs are a social species, we feel Jethys, our last remaining red ruffed lemur, should not stay here and live alone. After Cynthia died, and knowing that Iris was on a decline, we began networking with “lemur experts” around the country to figure out the best next steps for Jethys. The Greensboro Science Center also has a single Red Ruffed Lemur currently housed with a group of Ring-Tailed Lemurs. I drove Jethys to Greensboro last week (with Keeper Katie) to live there with their Red Ruffed Lemur and Ring-Tailed troop. We will miss Jethys but believe this is the best decision for her going forward.
The museum will no longer house Red Ruffed Lemurs and only keep Ring-Tailed Lemurs. The Red Ruffed Lemurs called the museum home for 11 years and will certainly be missed by all of the keepers. We hope that Jethys can continue to educate the public about her species in Greensboro. If you find yourself at the Greensboro Science Center make sure to say hello to Jethys!