The Duke Lemur Center (DLC, formerly the Duke University Primate Center) was originally established as an opportunistic collaboration between two biologists, one who was studying maternal behavior in mammals at Duke University and the other who was at Yale, studying biochemical genetics in lemurs. Together, the two investigators conceived the idea of establishing a primate facility in Duke Forest that would combine their research perspectives in order to explore the genetic foundations of primate behavior. The National Science Foundation rewarded their initiative by providing the funds to build a living laboratory where lemurs and their close relatives could be studied intensively and non-invasively. In 1966, the nascent DLC was founded on 80 wooded acres, two miles from the main Duke campus. The DLC assembled the largest living collection of endangered primates in the world, both in numbers of species and in number of individuals. Over its history, the DLC has housed, cared for, and made available for study nearly 4000 animals across 31species of non-human primates including lemurs, lorises and at one point, tarsiers (together, colloquially referred to as prosimian primates). Today, it houses nearly 250 individuals across 21 species. The scientific endeavors at the DLC span a remarkable array of disciplines, from behavior and genomics to physiology and paleontology. Conservation biology is also a major focus and provides the conceptual and operational bridge between the living collections of the DLC and its outreach activities in Madagascar.Choose to start, finish, or center your holiday on a trip to Duke Lemur Center by using our Durham sightseeing planner .
Duke Lemur Center Reviews
The Lemur center does good work. They do a good job education you about lemurs and their challenges in the wild. The tour is limited. We were only able to see 2 small areas with enclosures. We were no... more »
I have always loved lemurs ( I'd always watch the show on BPS Zoboomafoo). But my favorite is the ring-tailed. So I was excited when I found this place! The staff were very knowledgeable about lemurs ... more »
It’s not a great experience for the 12 dollar tour. You need to remember this is not a zoo, so the animals are not on display like in a zoo. The cages make it difficult to see the lemurs and you can just forget about taking photos, unless you have 100-300 dollars per person and get on a waiting list for the photo tour your just going to be out of luck. It’s a great cause and the lemurs are awesome.
We went in April (had to get on a waiting list for reservations, so book early). Most of the lemurs were in the inside enclosures, due to the temperature, however, if you go in the summer, you get a completely different experience! The inside enclosures were a bit difficult to continue to look at, as there is a chain link fence and sometimes that makes your eyes go wonky.
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