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Lemur Center braces for the hurricane

Duke students, faculty and staff are getting ready for Hurricane Florence, but another group on campus also faces challenges from the storm—the animals.

Staff members at the Lemur Center are taking precautions to ensure that all primates—"human, loris and lemur alike"—stay safe, according to a Tuesday press release.

“During the hurricane, [our staff will] be here alongside the lemurs," said Greg Dye, director of operations and interim director of the Duke Lemur Center. "That’s an amazing level of commitment that separates us from a lot of other jobs. It’s incredible.”

All lemurs were brought safely inside by Wednesday. 

The Lemur Center is following Standard Operating Procedures and has ordered and stored several days' worth of water and food along with safety resources for staff and caretakers. 

The center has a supply of gas in the event of power loss, space set aside for veterinary and animal care staff to sleep onsite and chainsaw-wielding Duke Forestry staff on standby ready to clear Lemur Lane of any downed trees. 

Although lemurs have been given special treatment, some animals in the Sarah P. Duke Gardens don't have that luxury.

Robert Mottern, director of horticulture at Sarah P. Duke Gardens, wrote in an email that the chickens of the Discovery Gardens area will have several days of worth food and water left in their bowls. The koi and the waterfowl, however, will not be given special attention as the storm approaches.

Some lab animals such as fruit flies, fish and mice, are also being cared for.

Leaving animals uncared will cause obstacles for the ongoing operations in the lab she works in, sophomore Raksha Doddabele said. The primary experiment in the lab depends on tracking changes in the number of living fruit flies within different environments. 

Sophomore Ceci Cardelle, who works with zebrafish in her lab, said that lab supervisors plan to come in Thursday to feed and care for the fish. She added that although the fish should be well protected from the elements in their tanks, problems with the water system could threaten their lives. 

Duke's beloved feral cat, Peaches, will be well cared for. She, along with her feline friend Mamabean, will be staying with an alumnus at the Lofts apartments over the weekend. 

As for Duke’s many squirrels, one can only hope that they act a little less recklessly as Florence hits Duke.


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