A slight drizzle greeted my arrival at the Bioparc this morning so I headed straight for the cafeteria for coffee and croissants and time to plan my day. With the usual view over the “Savanna” and the Giraffes, Impalas, Waterbuck etc I sipped my coffee and explored the settings of my new (well new to me) camera. I was very excited about trying out this semi-professional Canon 7D that had arrived only yesterday. I could hear the Lion roaring from across the Savanna but this sound was then eclipsed by the screeching of the Lemurs nearby, so I decided to investigate.
The Lemurs are housed in a separate area which allows the public to walk through the enclosure, an amazing experience if the Lemurs are feeling sociable, however this is not always the case. With luck and timing Lemurs will suddenly appear out of the bushes and run across the path in front of you, or sit in a tree allowing you to view them from quite close up, whilst sitting perfectly still trying to get a good photo I have even had one come up to me and tap me on the knee! Of course touching or feeding the animals is strictly forbidden and keepers are always on patrol to ensure this. There are six Lemur species in the enclosure although not all of them are out at the same time. There are Red Bellied, Red Ruffed, Red Fronted, Ring Tailed, Black and White Ruffed and Mongoose Lemurs, unusually all were out this morning although I only managed to photograph three types.
The source of the noise was the Black and White Ruffed Lemur (varecia variegata variegata). They always seem to make more noise than the others, I guess they are very territorial and are just guarding their territory. I hadn’t seen them for quite some time, so it was nice to check them out again. One seemed to be in an argument with a Red Ruffed Lemur (varecia rubra) and once one starts all the others join in. Both were sitting on opposite sides of a path and did not seem to mind me snapping away whilst they were arguing. A winding path direct you on a route through the enclosure and it is easy for the less observant visitor to miss the creatures nestling in the bushes, indeed there have been days when I have walked through and only got a short glimpse of a couple of the Lemurs, this must be very disappointing if this happens on your only visit to the Bioparc.
Further round I came across a group of Red Fronted Lemurs (eulemur rufus) in the trees and opposite a group of Ring Tailed Lemurs (lemur catta). These two groups completely ignored each other and I was able to get a few decent shots off before they disappeared off into the trees again. I returned later in the day to see if I could get some better images but all of them were hidden away, probably having an afternoon siesta.
Just outside the Lemur enclosure is a small island which house the Fossa (cryptoprocta ferox) a curious animal unique to Madagascar, half way between a cat and a dog but more closely related to the mongoose. The position of the island appears to be some kind of cruel joke as the Fossa is the principal predator of Lemurs, so he can hear them, smell them and probably see them but cannot get anywhere near them! It is sad to note that due to humans destroying much of its habitat for farming there are now only around 2500 Fossa remaining in the wild.
The rest of the morning was spent testing my camera and enjoying the animals. I am pleased to report that neither of the Lion cubs were showing any signs of the limp that I had noticed a few weeks earlier. I managed to get a few more decent shots of the bird show which this week included the Grey Crowned Crane. November.
The camera? Well judge for yourselves. I already love it.
More next week on my usual Wednesday blog. Thanks for reading.