Tuesday, August 26, 2003

leaping lemurs

finally made it out to the sf zoo. the lemurs were worth it. liz and i got there late afternoon. they have 5 species hanging about. two orange ruff guys were bouncing around like mad chasing each other, at one point hanging upside down from a net, banging away at each other.

the two babies though stole the show. one a few months older, already venturing out from his mama on a regular basis, bouncing back and forth between ground tree and mama. The other only a month or two old, clung longer to her mom's back. The most amusing moment was when the younger one's mom was feeding at her bucket, the child really wanted to eat, but wasn't quite up to venturing out by herself, even though she really wanted to. She would eat out of her Mom's hand when she could, and once even got onto the rim of the bucket, before plummeting back in.

after feeding the all started clambering up into the trees in their open area, up a tall eucalyptus and then onto the top of douglas furs. all the species seemed to defer to the two parents (although one tried to steal food and had to be chased off), and the move didn't start until they were on their way up. the children seemed even more brave when they were far up from ground, which seemed odd. The mother of the older child would often jump away leaving the child to follow -- a teaching tool I guess.

A major racket insued at one point -- one of these orange guys I think confronted one of another species on a branch. Suddenly every lemur was shouting out, incredibly loud and covering a number of strange crys -- some more like bird calls than primates. It died off after a while, one of the ringtails lowest down on the trees, kept it going the longest with long hoots.

I feel a little better about zoos after reading Life of Pi, although some of the cages seemed pretty old school and horrible.


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