Meet Claire, Remy, and Oliver, some ‘Collared Lemurs’ at the LCF Myakka City Reserve. (Oliver has his paw in the pail above. Claire and Remy are pictured below.)
Claire is one of very few Collared brown lemurs in captivity. She is a great mother and, although she has had health problems throughout much of her adult life, she always puts as much of herself as possible into the raising of her offspring. Sometimes she needs a bit of help from the keepers, but she is very cooperative, allowing staff to remove her baby to take weights weekly, but knowing they’ll give it back. She is probably the sweetest lemur you could ever find, always bright and alert and eager for a grape or two. Claire was diagnosed with liver cancer in the beginning of 2012. At the same time, while doing an ultrasound, we also discovered that she was pregnant. The staff was faced with a very difficult decision.
Our options were to do surgery to remove the cancer in her liver, begin chemotherapy, or give her supportive care and help her through her pregnancy. Claire is 20 years old and a high surgical risk based on her age and chronic health problems. If we were to surgically remove the tumor we would risk losing her, definitely lose the baby and nurse her through a fairly invasive, or tough, surgery. If we were to begin chemotherapy, we would potentially lose the baby and subject Claire to weeks of stressful trips to the doctor, removing her from her current family group and dissolve the bonds we have with her as her keepers. Our last option was to do nothing and support Claire through her pregnancy and give her the most stress free and loving environment that we could. We are happy to report that it has been over 14 months since her diagnosis and Claire is holding her own. She has given birth to a beautiful baby boy Remy. Since Claire is one of only 7 breeding females in captivity within the US, we are elated she has given birth and added a new infant into the breeding population. Although Claire has clearly slowed down in the past year, we continue to spoil her and she is still as beautiful as ever.