Thursday, August 11, 2011

Show and Tell

Yesterday, I was started reading Lisa Kelley's recent dissertation on her work with ring-tailed lemurs at Cap Sainte Marie. I couldn't help but get a bit choked up on the acknowledgements and Lisa kindly said I could share her story about one very sweet, very determined lemur. The following passage was written by Lisa Kelley:

A female infant in the Tsankalamanga troop was observed one day with what appeared to be a broken back. All who observed the incident were certain she would die. Her crying, which persisted all day, was unbearable. The temperature that day was 95ยบ+F, and she kept dragging herself out of the shade in an attempt to follow the troop. Her mother was the oldest female in the study; a scraggly female who appeared to be the mother of at least two other females in the troop. The mother continuously approached the infant to move her to the shade, while the rest of the troop ceased all activity and watched through an O. ficus-indica hedge. The next day, the troop had left for a long excursion to the other end of their home range. We were certain that the infant had died. Then we saw the drag marks. This female had dragged her infant from one end of the troop’s habitat to the other, and the infant had clung on her back with her hands, dangling her feet all the way. The following weeks, we watched as this female would be “parked” on a branch, hanging by her hands meters from the ground. We were always certain she wouldn’t survive. Except that she did. In fact, she recovered completely from the incident and became an active, well-nourished central troop member. We named her Oops. The moral of the story: Oops happens, but the strength derived from sociality is the network from which improbable accomplishments by the individual become possible through the group. It is observations such as this that make the field of primatology such a worthy endeavor.

Can you even believe that? Her momma drug her around through 95 degree weather and the whole group waited for poor, slow Oops. What a beautifully written tale about life with lemurs!

And here is Oops, once she was all better. I love that little belly!

On another note, the fruit fly war rages on, but I WILL be victorious.

1 comment:

  1. I think many of us have such stories. There was the infant who was attacked by a high-ranking female at Beza in 1994, bitten through the head, and I watched him bleeding and listened to him screaming all day, certain that he would be dead within hours. But he wasn't... and he lived to adulthood and was still alive when I stopped doing research at Beza in 2004, minus one eye, thus his name: One-eye.