The lemur who starred in the PBS show Zoboomafoo has died, prompting a wave of mourning among fans of the beloved children’s wildlife program.
Jovian, a Coquerel’s sifaka lemur, passed away at age 20.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Jovian Died of Kidney Failure
Jovian died of kidney failure at the Duke Lemur Center in Durham, North Carolina, at 20 years old. He was a grandfather, siring 12 sifakas by two different partners, which led to four grandbabies and two more on the way. The center posted an obituary for Jovian online, which you can view here. Jovian was known as Zoboomafoo on the PBS show.
The Duke Lemur Center said in a statement, “A quiet sadness spread over the Duke Lemur Center staff on Monday as news spread that Jovian, a much-loved Coquerel’s sifaka, had died.”
Jovian was born at the Duke Lemur Center in 1994 to parents Flavia, a female caught in Madagascar in 1986, and Nigel, who had been born at Duke Lemur Center in 1972.
2. ‘Zoboomafoo’ Only Ran for Two Seasons
Zoboomafoo ran for 65 episodes, from 1999 to 2001, under brothers Martin and Chris Kratt, who had previously hosted another children’s wildlife show on PBS titled Kratt’ Creatures.
Martin Kratt said of Jovian’s death, “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.”
Zoboomafoo still runs worldwide in syndication.
3. Coquerel’s Sifaka Lemurs Are Native to Madagascar
The Coquerel’s sifaka lemur is medium sized and, like all lemurs, belongs to the primate family. They are only native to the Madagascar Islands, with an unknown number in the wild. Families of the Conquerel’s sifaka range from three to 10 members, living primarily trees and rarely seen on the ground. Conquerel’s sifaka lemurs are active during the day, with the females being dominant over the males in a complex hierarchy in the families. Find more information on the lemurs here.
4. The Kratt Brothers Now Star in an Animated PBS Show
Wild Kratts is the brothers’ newest educational children’s show on PBS. The series is an animated adventure focusing on educating children in biology, zoology and ecology. The brothers go around rescuing animals, while in the process educating, sometimes on more adult issues such as the shark fin market or deforestation. This is one of several shows the brothers have done in their career on PBS relating to wildlife education.
5. The Internet Reacted Emotionally to Jovian’s Death