It’s a sad time for me, as it means my placement is finally finished! For the last two weeks, I conducted my own research on the lemurs for a part of my final university project (due in March, eep!). The research was to see whether aggression and territorial calls in lemurs changed in anyway, using different forms of social interactions.
The types of social interactions included:
- Before and after cleaning their enclosures, feeding them morning feed, etc.
- Before and after going into the enclosure with them to feed them treats (blueberries/grapes).
- Before and after introducing a new enrichment (includes toys and hidden food).
I really enjoyed collecting the behavioural information and observing the lemurs. They’re fun to watch as they like to hang upside down off the barred ceiling, and leap over everywhere. They also have impressive territorial calls and communicate towards each other with little grunts, which normally culminate in a massive joint call.
They are a pretty gentle pair, especially when hand feeding them food, and lift their heads up to masticate it. However, Dandelion is very territorial and can get aggressive (Burdock is the big cuddly one), especially when you try to leave the enclosure after feeding them treats. So, we have to distract him to make sure all of us can get out in time!
Overall, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this placement and really want to go back when I can to volunteer! I have learned so much more here over the 8 weeks than I have in all my 15 years of education! I’ve seen babies grow up (Coati, Kinkajou, Raccoon); I’ve hugged a water monitor lizard; I’ve been climbed on by lemurs; I’ve even held a snake (something I used to be afraid of!). So many brilliant experiences in a tiny amount of time!
It’s run by a team of eternally optimistic people who really believe in the work they carry out. I am so thankful to them for giving me this oppourtunity and to learn proper, hands-on skills I will definitely be needing in my future career! They take care of the animals so well, and give me so much hope for the future of conservation and the reintroduction of endangered species into the wild.
I wish the centre all the success in the future, and if you want to check the place out on FaceBook, I’m going to link you all up below: