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Zoo’s Ring-Tailed Lemur “Frank” Passes At Age 29
A longtime resident lemur at Micke Grove Zoo, “Frank” lost his battle with cancer recently. He was 29 and was a zoo and staff favorite; he had been living at the zoo since 1996. Photo Contributed

Micke Grove Zoo lost a family member last week as “Frank,” one of the zoo’s longtime resident lemurs, succumbed to cancer at age 29.

One of two ring-tailed lemurs at the zoo, Frank had resided at Micke Grove since 1996, when he arrived with his father and half-brother, “Dean.” Although not even two years of age, Frank revealed his mischievous side early on and quickly became a zoo and staff favorite.

“Frank loved nothing better than to try to start something with his brother or the red ruffed lemurs,” said zoo manager Trish Jackman. “They had a true sibling relationship filled with teasing, squabbling and lots of time just enjoying one another.”

But Frank had a gentle side as well, Jackman said. When he and Dean were separated due to medical treatments, Frank would immediately hug and groom his brother upon his return. Frank was equally affectionate with zoo staff.

“He was the fastest to leap and run over to follow a keeper for treats,” Jackman fondly recalled, stating Frank would often gently hold the keeper’s fingers while he enjoyed his snacks.

Recently, Frank figured out how to navigate the fencing on the Madagascar Island exhibit, which houses the zoo’s lemur population. In anticipation of dinnertime, Frank would let himself off the island to relax and sun by the den door, Jackman said.

“Every time we tried to fix the problem, he’d figure out another way and show his mates on the island how to join him,” she chuckled.

Although lemurs typically live in captivity into their mid-20s, Frank’s longevity had been a testament to the quality of care by zoo staff, whom Jackman said are devastated by his loss. Dean remains on exhibit at the zoo.

Micke Grove Zoo, part of Micke Grove Regional Park, is open Wednesdays through Sundays. Zoo hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., last admission at 4:30 p.m. Zoo admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children over two years of age.

Vehicle entry to Micke Grove Park is $5 weekdays and $6 weekends and most holidays. Micke Grove Park and Zoo is located off Armstrong Road, west of Highway 99, between Stockton and Lodi.