As lemurs get older, their movements become slower and harder. They moved on branches where they could be easily caught. Sometimes their toothbrush, a group of teeth used for decorating the wedding, makes it more difficult for them to keep the fur moving on their own. So the best companion for a geriatric lemur is another geriatric lemur, someone who does not want to dive around but is willing to sit together and help in decorating the wedding. “Young people can be too silly,” said Dr Grebe.
To her credit, Cheyenne never settles for just any geriatric lemur. Some time ago, the keepers tried to introduce Martine, a collared female lemur, to Chloris and Cheyenne. Chloris had no worries – cordiality probably supported by her cataracts. “She doesn’t care what anything looks like,” said Ms Keith. But Cheyenne showed her teeth, looked down the new lemur and finally ran after her. Ms Keith said Cheyenne could be brutal but Martine was very deceitful: “She was not putting out the right vibes for Cheyenne. ”
Still, Cheyenne and Chloris are open to single singles coming into their field in wing D. Until a few months ago, the lemurs lived with Pedro, an old mongoose lemur who loved kiwis, until his death.
Wild lemur populations are often symmetrical, meaning they live in the same area. But scientists have rarely seen different species interact with each other, according to Dr. Tecot. One study in 2006 found that crown lemurs and Sanford lemurs in Madagascar formed a polyspecific association, communicating and coordinating their actions over time. A pair between lemurs of different species looks even rarer, if at all. Dr Tecot, who co-directs the Ranomafana Red-Bellied Lemur Project in Madagascar, has not seen pairs of mixed species in the country.
In captivity, these pairs can offer insights into how lemurs could be intersex partners, according to Ipek Kulahci, a graduate researcher at the University of Notre Dame.
The energy of Cheyenne and Chloris, who both turn 33 this April, are no longer to be played. But they still shine in the sun in the outer fort and stay warm in their sleeping baskets, which are thirsty with bark blankets to comb their old bones.
In the last few years, Chloris has had more forgetful moments in that she doesn’t know where she is – their caretakers call them “positive times,” Ms Keith said. But when Chloris returns to lucidity, in her good eyes, she sees that she is still with Cheyenne.