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Happy World Lemur Day

Lemur-4795249_640Little did I know when I wrote about International Wombat Day a few days ago, that I’d be writing about World Lemur Day today.

I wrote about wombats because I read about the special day on Facebook and thought, since I had a great photo of my niece and her son with a wombat in Western Australia, I’d write about International Wombat Day.

The surprising thing is that I learned that wombats are distinctive because the pouches that shelter their young face backward. Wombats are great diggers, creating burrows where they spend most of their lives. If the pouch faced forward, it would fill with dirt as the female digs with its powerful front legs and claws.

I also learned that the survival of wombats is threatened in Australia by the loss of habitat, vehicle strikes, and mange disease.


My niece Debra Erickson, who worked for decades as a wildlife educator, retired from the San Diego Zoo last year. Her next project, she said, would be founding a nonprofit to save wildlife.

For her retirement, I sent a check with the To: line blank. That made me the first member of Wildlife Madagascar. As the first member, I was featured in the organization’s newsletter on World Lemur Day.

Lemurs, too, are threatened by loss of habitat and also by hunting and climate change. Ninety-eight percent of lemur species are threatened with extinction and 31 percent are critically endangered, according to the Lemur Conservation Network.

Since Madagascar is an island, most of its fauna and flora is found nowhere else. It’s the only habitat for wild lemurs in the world.

Most lemurs are small, have a pointed snout, large eyes, and a long tail. They live chiefly in trees and are active at night.

With an estimated 112 species of lemurs today, the smallest, Madame berthe’s mouse lemur, has an average body weight of 1 ounce, and the largest, the indri, weighs about 13 to 20 pounds. An extinct giant lemur was thought to be the size of a gorilla.

Wildlife Madagascar

Wildlife Madagascar’s goal is to conserve Madagascar’s forests and wildlife by providing resources and assistance to local people so they can live and grow in more sustainable ways.

Congratulations to Debra and Wildlife Madagascar for launching this fantastic organization.


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