A unique FFA project: raising and managing a critically endangered species from Madagascar

Great State

KINGFISHER, Okla. (KFOR) — Every afternoon right after school, Isaac Kerr walks out the back door of his house in Kingfisher with a healthy treat for what’s called his Supervised Agricultural Experiment, a breeding pair of ring-tailed lemurs.

“We just wanted something different,” he says.

Isaac got them since just before his sophomore year.

“They’re doing really good,” he says, “They adapt well.”

Kerr is a senior now at Lomega High and currently the only FFA student in Oklahoma taking on the task of caring for, and, hopefully, breeding an endangered species of primate from Madacascar.

“They’re pretty tame,” he continues as he walks inside their metal enclosure, “But just around people they know.”

The Kerr family has always been active in the show ring.

Isaac and his big sister showed just about every animal in the average barnyard.

With a move to a smaller place they no longer had the room for more traditional stall animals.

Isaac knew a guy and that’s how King Julian and Queenie came to town.

Kerr says, “every type of lemur is critically endangered.”

Isaac’s new FFA teacher took some time to wrap his human fingers around this senior project.

“He never believed me until I brought them to a show for the first time,” he smiles.

Kerr made up a slide show and presentation.

Schools in every direction put in requests to host Isaac and his lemurs but he’s had to hold off for now.

Humans and lemurs shared enough genetics they’re both affected by the latest pandemic.

“Lemurs can catch Covid-19,” he says.

Isaac spends as much time in their home-built enclosure as he can.

Then it’s off to American History homework in the kitchen, a little supper, and start again tomorrow.

“I hope they’ll breed,” says Kerr. “Then I can call this project Production and Management instead of Exotic Animal Management.”

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