Monday, October 11, 2010

Not proud

I am currently so stuffed that I can barely think. Thank goodness I have a backlog of posts and don't need to think...

Oct 5, 2010. 7:30pm. Tent.

Today was a challenging day and my coping skills were not, ehm, 100%. I am not proud of my behavior, but because I am an “over-sharer”, I will share.

I told a female ring-tailed lemur to “go f*&k herself.” She also may of, well does, have an infant who is 4 or 5 days old. And I may have added in a “and f*%k your baby too.”

NOT proud. My “habituated” group, who were behaving like 21 near-perfect lemur angels last week have gone all rangy and anti-social since a) the birth of the groups 3 super fantastic and adorable babies and b) the arrival of the Madagascar Harrier Hawk couples who like to feed their siblicidal babies the super fantastic and adorable lemur babies.

My day has gone as follows:

Wake up at 5am. Get suited up for the day. Through some coffee down my pie hole (yes I am back on a wee bit of coffee and no I don’t have any pie), eat something and get a move on. Catch up with lemurs by 6am*. Try try try to remember who each lemur is from their various peccadilloes, such as cap and mask shape, scars, ear tears, coat condition, tail condition, penis length (yes, really), etc., which is remarkably difficult. Find one individual I recognize, such as “Scabbers”, “Chubbers”, Pinky, 300 (less-half-an-ear), He-Snoze, Hoppy, etc., and begin recording everything the animal does. Number of bites take, what a bite consists of, plant food type, location and species, dominance interactions, location, and vigilance are of particular importance. As are getting representative sample of all plant foods and collecting all feces for hormonal and nutritional analyses.

As if all this weren’t taxing enough, since the arrivals of the aforementioned super fantastic and adorable lemur babies and the big scary Harrier Hawk, the lemurs are having no part of my antics. What to they do? Repeatedly grunt at me something that sounds an awful lot like “you’re a dick” and then run. Run far far away. Forest Gump style. I have yet to calculate the actual ranges, but these guys have HUGE territories. And what do I do? Chase, far far away. Through all things prickly thorny and generally hurty, I look for them, I listen for them, and do my best impression of a lemur contact call until, hopefully, I eventually I find them again. They have such an advantage in the really scrubby forest that sometimes it take a long time to catch up. Oh, and did I mention that it is 30 degrees Celsius by 7am and anywhere between 45 and 55 between the hours of 10am and 2pm? Well, it is. So, after 5 hours of this fun game of “let’s ditch Marni and see how long we can lose her for” I was fed up. When I caught up and got the “you’re a dick” grunt from "Babymomma", I snapped and cursed her and her 4 or 5 day old super fantastic and adorable baby. Oh, and I may have threatened to slap an ridiculously protective male, but males get slapped around all the time anyhow, so that wasn’t such a huge faux pas on my part. Not that I am advocating domestic abuse or violence against near endangered animals, but these guys really do get slapped all the time.

Tomorrow is a brand new day and I promise to try not to swear at, threaten, or bribe any lemurs. Again, I am not proud of my behavior. BTW, the babies are so ridiculously cute and squirmy and have a habit of not knowing which end is up or forward, which makes them even cuter.

*The TNP lemurs get up at 5am. Can you believe the audacity?! Bastards. The Beza RTLs don’t budge before 9am. Now Beza is the 'land of plenty' and the land of the civilized lemurs. Hmph.


  1. And the Anja lemurs wait for the researchers to arrive at 9am before they start to do interesting things...just sayin'.
    That mother in the top photo looks possessed. And I don't think I've ever seen such a long SNOUT on a lemur. She looks like a collie.

  2. I'm convinced that Anja is too good to be true. Who ever heard of pizza for dinner and obese wild lemurs?

    I will post a couple pics of the TNP lemurs' noses- there are a whole bunch that have these crazy bumpy noses. In fact, we have a series of lemurs named something-'snoze'. They need lemur rhinoplasty!