"While walking in the woods one day,
Chris and Martin saw something strange-
A little leaping lemur who liked to bounce and play."
Jovian, the lemur who played Zoboomafoo, passed away on Monday at age twenty. Coquerel’s sifaka lemurs usually only live to be about fifteen years old in the wild, so Jovian lived a long life for a lemur! As the most popular resident of Duke Lemur Center, where Martin Kratt volunteered as a student, Jovian lived out his days happily. His behavior only changed last month when his kidneys began to fail.
The Kratt brothers chose Jovian and his parents, Nigel and Flavia, to be on the show after auditioning many lemurs. On Monday, Martin Kratt spoke about Jovian in the Duke Lemur Center's obituary: “He was great to work with. He’d jump in through the window and we’d feed him mangoes or garbanzo beans. Sometimes he’d grab our noses with those soft sifaka hands.” (Full obituary
The Kratt brothers then tweeted this image on Wednesday from their official Twitter.
We, the audience, remember Zoboo as our excited, leaping friend who wouldn't talk until he had his snack! Although it's more distinguishable now when Zoboo used an English-speaking "double", we knew him as our friend with all of the questions. He would ask the Kratts what we at home were thinking, and we would learn along with him. Through his eyes, we would feel "cheetahish", "elephantish", or like any of the featured animals on the show. As the only resident of Animal Junction who could successfully open the closet, Zoboo showed that we can still be learning while already being important.
As a tribute to Jovian, who taught me so much about animals, it's appropriate to learn about animals
in his memoir. Coquerel’s sifaka lemurs are endangered lemurs that live in northern Madagascar. Strict vegetarians, Coquerel's sifakas spend most of the day searching for foods among the trees in groups of three to ten. All lemurs live in matriarchal societies, which means that the females are dominant to males and get first pick at mating partners and food. Easily leaping over twenty feet in a single bound, Coquerel's sifakas are distinguishable from other lemurs because of their upright posture and tendency to use only their back legs to leap through treetops.
As many sites are reporting that Jovian only had three children, I called Chris Smith who is the education specialist at Duke Lemur Center to confirm that a dozen more lemurs are here today because of Jovian and his two mates. Seven of his children survive him, six of which live at Duke Lemur Center, along with four grandchildren (and a hopeful two on the way)! The Center's website (lemur.duke.edu) has been remodeled to feature a large picture and kind words about Jovian. My heart goes out to Chris Smith, the Kratt Brothers, and all of Jovian's animal and human families who worked closely with him. I know I mourn alongside millions, as we are thankful for the life of this little leaping friend.
You can show your love by donating to the Duke Lemur Center
and helping them care for these endangered animals.
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