BEATRICE – A Beatrice man and his wife have received permission from the City of Beatrice to own a rare pet… a ring-tailed lemur, an endangered species.
“There are more in captivity, than there are in the wild”. The permit was granted by the Beatrice City Council Monday night to Nick and Lacey Jurgens.
Nick Jurgens says he and his wife would keep the primate at their home along North 14th Street. The couple owns a local computer business. Nick Jurgens says a woman from Auburn is a breeder of the lemurs. “Their habitat is being destroyed, so honestly, they’re thriving in captivity”.
Jurgens says the male primate can become aggressive, one reason he’s wanting to obtain a female ring-tailed lemur. He says the lemur can get accustomed to a family. “I don’t want to get something aggressive that I’m going to have to deal with. So, if its a male, its off the table anyhow, just for public safety”. Jurgens says the territorial nature of the lemur makes the older males somewhat aggressive.
The exotic animal permit is good for one year but can be renewed annually.
“I wouldn’t mind, possibly, offering it up to schools to do talks, maybe about their environment and their being destroyed, but that would be something I would get approval with schools, and possibly talk with you guys before anything like that happens”.
Jurgens says the lemur has a lifespan of about twenty years in captivity. One councilman praised Jurgens for bringing the matter before the city, rather than officials finding out about an exotic animal that was not reported to the city.
Jurgens says the animal would be kept in an enclosure, mostly indoors. He says the couple has an acreage where an enclosed outdoor area could be used.