Spirit of Madagascar----- Ring-tailed lemur


Spirit of Madagascar----- Ring-tailed lemur
Writer/Dan Fen   Photographer/Tan Mingzhi
        Today I am going to introduce you a kind of quadrumana, the spirit of all creatures in Madagascar-----Ring-tailed lemur. Here is their identification photo: a pair of white fuzzy ears and claybank eyes, a small nose and a protruding mouth. With a face similar to that of fox, however, their actions are just like monkeys. That is why people call them lemur.
        Ring-tailed lemur, as it is called, was named after its tail with 11-12 rings colored by black and white. Although their body is just 30 centimeters long, their tail is more than 10 centimeters longer. This long tail can not only keep balance when they are exercising, but also helps keep warm, exchange information among ethnic groups and ingratiate them with the opposite sex. Sometimes they would prick up their tail, sometimes hide it behind their back with shyness. However, they would again upwarp their tail as arrogantly as a peacock when walking and running, showing their unique charm. Their tail, actually, stands for a flag with black and white to show their identity, which makes them so remarkable in the nature.
        Ring-tailed lemur can easily cross 5 to 6 meters high (20 times higher than their height) with their light body, which is a special skill that no other primates can do.
         Another nickname of ring-tailed lemur is “the sun's admirer”. Every morning after waking up, they would walk outside, and sit straightly with their face to the sun, at which they staring silently like an admirer of sun. It seems that this is a myterious phenomenon, but they are actually enjoying the warm sunshine to drive away the coldness in the night and keep their body warm. This will be instrumental for them to digest food and develop body.
        Ring-tailed lemur is gregarious, thus they form a small matriarchal society. Headed by adult female, those ring-tailed lemurs live in a society with rigid hierarchy. The female lemur and the babies have priority in ingestion and drinking. However, the male lemur must behave very gently, for “ladies and babies first”is their unbreakable law in the group.
        The rut of the ring-tailed lemur lasts for the shortest time among all the mammals. After 2 weeks’date, the lemur couple would separate. Short as the date is, the male lemur would bite each other for dating a female one, and some even wage an “odor war”. It is turned out that inside of the male lemur’s arm there exists secretory odor gland. Before fighting, they would clasp the tail and smear the secretion on it. Therefore, the tail would become a temporary odor ejector through which lemurs can drive their enemy away by waving their big tail. Then the one who stays at last becomes the winner. Compared to the relentless violence in the wildlife world, the fighting-pattern of ring-tailed lemur is much more civilized.
        The pregnancy of a female lemur is about 5 months. They would deliver 1 to 2 babies each time and the babies are usually twins. The female has a strong maternal instinct, for they would feed their babies for six months and are responsible for teaching them to live independently.
        Generally speaking, ring-tailed lemur can live only for 20 years. Luckily, they are now reared in pens and can breed their offsprings. However, they would always look to the distance, which I think means that they are st that time in their deep homesickness. The space of Madagascar has dramatically reduced 90% and ring-tailed lemur has been listed into appendix I of the United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. Let’s try together for the existence of such a animal spirit with beautiful eyes.