ISLAND OF LEMURS: MADAGASCAR
As rare as the Greater Bamboo lemurs were, filmmakers interacted with an
abundance of Mouse lemurs in Ranomafana. Dr. Wright's study at Centre ValBio
includes 500 micro-chipped lemurs that scientists have been following for a
decade. Douglas wanted to show the importance of studying lemurs for scientific
advancement, and filmed the scientists capturing the Mouse lemurs and taking
The Mouse lemur is the smallest primate in the world but it still has the same
genetic foundation of all primates, including humans.
Douglas cites, "You can see us in their little hands and the spacing of their
eyes and their stereo vision and the size of their brain. A lot of these lemurs
have natural resistances to different diseases and if they disappear with that
genetic capacity, we lose out as well." Mouse lemurs in captivity are one of the
few animals that have been documented getting Alzheimer's; by conducting a
long-term study of wild populations, Dr. Wright and her colleagues hope to
analyze the difference between captive and wild populations to search for clues
for the disease's cause.
The humane capture of the Mouse lemurs is made possible by little metal traps
with bananas in them which entice the lemurs. The scientists bring the box cages
back to the lab at Centre ValBio and examine the lemurs and take their data.
"One moment they're bounding around the forest, the next they're being carried
off and probed by strange giants," Fellman remembers. "It reminded the crew of
alien abductions and so we worked that feeling into the scene.
It's all done in dim light, because the Mouse lemur is nocturnal, so it feels
very sci-fi. What is surprising is that many of the same Mouse lemurs are caught
every night," Fellman smiles. "It's hard to escape the mysterious lure of the
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