Jovian, the lemur from PBS's Zoboomafoo, dead at 20

Jovian, the much-loved lemur from PBS children's show, Zoboomafoo, died Monday from kidney failure.

Much-loved children's show animal died Monday from kidney failure

This picture, posted by the Duke Lemur Centre of Durham, N.C., shows Jovian, the lemur host of the popular PBS children's show Zoboomafoo. He died Monday at age 20. (Duke Lemur Centre/Facebook)

Jovian, the lemur from PBS's popular children's show Zoboomafoo, is dead.

The animal died Monday of kidney failure at the age of 20, according to an obituary posted online by the Duke Lemur Center, where Jovian lived.

"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.

"[He was] an exceptionally capable and caring father, having sired 12 sifakas by two different partners, leading to four grandbabies, with two more on the way."

  • On mobile? Watch a clip of Zoboomafoo here

Known by the name Zoboomafoo on the show, the white-furred, yellow-eyed creature leaped​ and bounded his way into the hearts of millions of children. Human co-stars Martin and Chris Kratt, who also created the program, instructed children on the habits of lemurs and other animals.

"He was great to work with," said Martin Kratt in a statement. "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."

The Kratts produced 65 episodes of Zoboomafoo in the show's two-year run between 1999 and 2001, and the show  lives on in worldwide syndication. 

News of Jovian's death triggered an outpouring of emotion online.

Despite their grief, the Duke Lemur Center is hopeful that Jovian impregnated his mate, Pia, before he died.

If he did, the centre expects a little Jovian could be born in late winter, 2015.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.