A little over a week ago I went to Dublin Zoo as part of my college project on animal behavior. I had to watch any animal and observe its behaviors. The idea was to compare how they act in the wild and how they act in captivity… and being so crazy about various species, just choosing an animal was a hard task. If I could, I would have studied them all. It took a lot of contemplation, just as this Orangutan seems to be contemplating the meaning of life:
The Orangutan pictures I took look very philosophical for some odd reason. I could probably stick a motivational quote here somewhere…
I went up the day before and stayed in a hotel with a classmate. The next morning we set off for the zoo. I now knew I wanted to study lemurs – they’re one of my favorite animals. The zoo gave a choice of the ring-tailed or the red ruffed lemurs. I found the ring-tailed exhibit first so I settled on studying them. (Silly me should have figured that the reds were in the next exhibit just beside them…) Thankfully, they cooperated, and were quite active throughout my time of observing them.
Lemurs are one of my favorite animals because they are actually very strange creatures. They look like monkeys mixed with cats and have a very cute overbite. Plus, ring-tailed lemurs are husky colored, making them basically monkeys mixed with cats and dogs at the same time. How cool is that?
Another thing I’ve always found particularly cool about lemurs is the fact that their body is a grooming parlor all on its own. They have a dental comb, which is a set of teeth that acts as, well, a comb. Under their tongue they have a second tongue-like muscle (the sublingua) that helps remove all that brushed fur and dirt from the comb. As well as that, on their feet, they have nails on all toes except for the second toe which has a sharper, longer claw – called the toilet claw – also used for grooming. Imagine if your body had a salon of its own.
A group of lemurs is called a conspiracy, and their name means “ghost”. Wide-eyed, often nocturnal and with eerie shrieks, they were believed to be actual spirits by the Malagasy. Creepy and folkloric, that’s my type of creature for sure.
And yet, they are simple, adorable balls of fluff.
Behavior-wise, the lemurs at Dublin Zoo stayed in their inside enclosure rather than going outside into the open area. I assume it’s mostly because it was so cold that morning, but the fact that they are nocturnal probably also played a role here.
Seriously, I just want to hug them forever. It’s incredibly upsetting that these guys are endangered. Someday soon, I will make another post that talks about lemurs in more detail. They are so fascinating.
I managed to photograph some of the other animals in the zoo. I am no professional photographer and my photos are not of the best quality, partly because my Canon has been long broken and I have had to use my lower quality old compact Nikon. I hope you are still able to enjoy them!
Unfortunately in the zoo there was a class of kids who kept yelling and annoying the animals. I had wanted to take a nice picture of the gorilla, but the poor thing ran away because those same kids were banging on his glass trying to frustrate him. At least he has a very big exhibit and was able to go into his enclosure at the back to hide from them. It was clear they had no interest in being there for the animals, being on their phones constantly and being so loud and annoying towards the animals. Even their teacher wasn’t able to control them. I think something should be implemented here – on the school side – to keep zoos more peaceful…
I love the idea of zoos and national parks, and while not all are good, some really do try to help animals. Many have succeeded in the conservation of not only animals but also nature. Dublin Zoo tries to reintroduce and breed their endangered species and works with various organisations worldwide. A couple of years ago they sent one of their red ruffed lemurs to Madagascar to begin a breeding programme. If you can help support your local conservation park or a zoo that cares, please do. You are helping animals.
To finish, here is one last photo. Toodles!
~ Deborah ♡