Bemaraha Woolly Lemur

Bemaraha Woolly Lemur

name = Bemaraha Woolly Lemur
status = EN
status_system = iucn3.1
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Mammalia
ordo = Primates
familia = Indriidae
genus = "Avahi"
species = "A. cleesei"
binomial = "Avahi cleesei"
binomial_authority = Thalmann & Geissmann, 2005

The Bemaraha Woolly Lemur ("Avahi cleesei"), also known as Cleese's Woolly Lemur, is a species of woolly lemur native to western Madagascar, named after John Cleese. The scientist who discovered the species named it after Cleese, star of Monty Python, mainly because of Cleese's fondness for lemurs, as shown in "Operation Lemur With John Cleese" and "Fierce Creatures", and his efforts at protecting and preserving them. The species was first discovered in 1990 by a team of scientists from Zurich University led by Urs Thalmann, but wasn't formally described as a species until November 11 2005.

The diurnal animal weighs about 5-6 kilograms, has brown skin with white regions on the rear and inside of the thighs and has a short damp nose, large plate eyes, and ears which hardly stand out from the skin. It typically has a strictly vegetarian diet of leaves and buds, living together in small families. The local population calls the species "dadintsifaky", which means "Grandfather of the Sifaka", because it is similarly sized to sifakas, but more ponderous, heavyset and has ample greyish-brown fur.

The habitat is limited to the Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve in western Madagascar, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The animal is probably threatened with becoming extinct in the long run, since the size of the population is unknown so far and its habitat shrinks continuously.


* Thalmann, Urs & Geissmann, Thomas (2005): New species of woolly lemur "Avahi" (Primates: Lemuriformes) in Bemaraha (Central Western Madagascar). "American Journal of Primatology" 67: 371–376. [ PDF fulltext]

External links

* [ BBC News report on the finding]
* [ "New Scientist" article]
* [ Endangered lemurs get Fawlty name ]

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