When lemurs develop outdated, their actions turn into slower and stiffer. They wobble on branches they might as soon as grip with ease. Sometimes their tooth comb, a gaggle of tooth used for grooming, falls out, which makes it tougher for them to maintain their fur fluffy on their very own. So the very best companion for a geriatric lemur is one other geriatric lemur, somebody who doesn’t need to tumble round however is content material to take a seat collectively and help in grooming. “Young ones can be too rambunctious,” Dr. Grebe mentioned.
To her credit score, Cheyenne by no means settles for simply any geriatric lemur. Some time again, the keepers tried to introduce Martine, a feminine collared lemur, to Chloris and Cheyenne. Chloris didn’t thoughts — a cordiality maybe aided by her cataracts. “She doesn’t care what anything looks like,” Ms. Keith mentioned. But Cheyenne confirmed her tooth, stared down the brand new lemur and ultimately chased her off. Ms. Keith mentioned that Cheyenne might be bossy however that Martine was notoriously fractious: “She was not putting out the right vibes for Cheyenne.”
Still, Cheyenne and Chloris are open to aged singletons becoming a member of their enclosure within the D wing. Until a number of months in the past, the lemurs have been cohabiting with Pedro, a really outdated mongoose lemur who liked kiwis, till he died.
Wild lemur populations are sometimes sympatric, that means they dwell in the identical geographic space. But scientists have solely not often noticed completely different species interacting with one another, in accordance with Dr. Tecot. One 2006 study discovered that topped lemurs and Sanford’s lemurs in Madagascar fashioned a polyspecific affiliation, speaking and coordinating their actions over time. Pairing between lemurs of various species appears even rarer, if it occurs in any respect. Dr. Tecot, who co-directs the Ranomafana Red-Bellied Lemur Project in Madagascar, has by no means seen any mixed-species pairings within the wild.
In captivity, these pairings can supply insights into how lemurs might kind interspecies companionships, in accordance with Ipek Kulahci, a postdoctoral researcher on the University of Notre Dame.
Cheyenne and Chloris, who will each flip 33 this April, would not have the power to play anymore. But they nonetheless soak within the solar of their out of doors enclosure and keep heat of their sleeping baskets, that are padded with fleece blankets to cushion their outdated bones.
In latest years, Chloris has been having extra forgetful episodes during which she appears unaware of the place she is — her keepers name them “senior moments,” Ms. Keith mentioned. But when Chloris returns to lucidity, in her good eye, she sees she remains to be with Cheyenne.