Congratulations to Caitlin Kenney, recently promoted to the Lemur Conservation Foundation’s Curator of Primates. Not only does she do a wonderful job managing the care of our colony (and wearing many other hats), but she also takes most of the wonderful lemur photographs that we share on social media, in LCF’s e-newsletter, on our website, and in other communications.
Learn about Caitlin’s background here and read answers she provided when we sat down with her to ask about photographing LCF’s lemurs. The photos featured in this blog post are just a few of her favorites, including one of each of the six species at our reserve: collared brown lemur, common brown lemur, mongoose lemur, red ruffed lemur, ring-tailed lemur, and Sanford’s brown lemur.
Born and raised in North Attleboro, MA, Caitlin studied conservation and wildlife management at Delaware Valley University. While earning her B.S., she volunteered at Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown, PA, and also served as an animal care intern in the North America West section of the Buttonwood Park Zoo in New Bedford, MA. There she worked with native species, including cougars, bobcats, deer, and bison, and target-trained an ornery Canadian lynx.
After graduation, Caitlin accepted a position at LCF as an animal husbandry intern, quickly falling in love with the lemurs and the unique setup of LCF’s free-ranging forests. She was soon promoted to keeper, zoological manager, and now curator. Caitlin has experience working in many areas of the reserve, including animal husbandry, enrichment, and training, recordkeeping, veterinary assistance, event planning, coordinating husbandry staff and interns, and managing LCF’s social media. She is currently the keeper of the ring-tailed lemur studbook for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Prosimian Taxon Advisory Group, and also assisting with the ring-tailed lemur Species Survival Plan update and animal care manual.
Q&A with Caitlin Kenney
Were you a photographer before joining LCF, or did the lemurs spark an interest in photography?
I’ve always enjoyed photography. I remember walking to the local store as a kid to buy film to take endless pictures of my family and our cats. My parents gave me my first digital camera in middle school and it was all downhill from there! I knew when I started as an intern that I would love taking pictures of the lemurs and I was right! To this day, there are many aspects of my job that make me feel satisfied or accomplished, but photographing the lemurs is one thing that I just enjoy—no matter what else is going on.
Do you have a funny story about photographing lemurs?
When I first started photographing the lemurs at LCF I would occasionally use a tripod. But, that soon changed.
I used to set it up in their free ranging forest habitats to capture their natural behaviors. Then, after a couple times of walking away from the tripod while following a particular group of lemurs, I would return only to find another group climbing on and investigating it. They were very curious about what they may have assumed was a new form of enrichment.
Is it difficult to capture your beautiful images of new infants born at the reserve?
New infant photos are definitely some of the most difficult shots to get. Seeing the infants to begin with can be very difficult and a good photo depends heavily on mom’s body position. In addition, some of our mongoose lemur moms can be very protective. Emilia in particular is known for turning her body so that the infant’s head faces away from any observer.
Do you have a favorite time of day to photograph lemurs and their forest habitats?
I love photographing the free ranging lemurs at dusk. They tend to be more active at that time than during the heat of the day and the lighting is just beautiful.
We won’t tell the other lemurs, but do you have a favorite species to photograph? If yes, why?
The mongoose lemurs are probably my favorite species to photograph. They are just so curious and engaging all the time. It doesn’t matter how many times I go in to photograph, they have to come over and investigate me, my camera, my camera strap, etc. every time. Once their investigation is done, I can almost always count on them to continue to be active during the shoot.