Friday, 31 October 2014

Lets Celebrate Lemur's On World Lemur Day!

Today you may be more concerned with running into a Zombie or how you are going to make that sheet look like a ghost costume. What you may not be aware of is that today is also World Lemur Day. If you are reading this and thinking "what the hell is a Lemur" well fear not, because one of my friends has decided to write me an entire guest post on...... yes you guessed it Lemurs; enjoy!

The Lemurs, by Sharon White.
Out of all the primate's the Lemur's are the most diverse. Anyone who watched the BBC's “Madagascar” would've been enthralled with the footage showing off the primates that are only found on the island. With nearly 100 known species that live in all areas and all habitats of Madagascar, Lemur's have a lot of weird and wonderful physical and behavioural adaptations. Some of the species are nocturnal, active only in the daylight or both. Their diet ranges from fruits, leaves and bamboo to nectar and insects. Their physical sizes range from the smallest of primate species' Mouse Lemurs being a tiny 1oz, to the Indri at about18lb's. Social behaviours range from solitary lifestyles, monogamous pairs and large, complex social groups. Throughout the Lemur's, female dominance is typical and is found in very few other primate species and even rarer throughout mammals.

Gray Mouse Lemur

Indri Lemur

Here's some examples of the weirdness between different Lemur species:
  • Mouse, Dwarf and Fork-marked Lemurs are known for having seasonal periods of torpor, like hibernation, especially during the dry season when food supplies decrease. As is common with hibernating species, it's common for individuals to fatten themselves up and these small primates, increase volume in their tails (a fat reserve) before going into seasonal torpor. However, this activity varies even on a population level, some individuals can go into torpor and others will not.
Fork marked/crowned Lemur

  • Dwarf Lemurs hold branches and pick objects in between their second and third fingers, which is in contrast to the other Prosimian species and more like their South American cousins.

Fat-Tailed Dwarf Lemur

  • Sportive Lemurs are the smallest folivorous primate, which is a rare diet for a nocturnal mammal. The lack of sugars in their diet has meant that Sportive Lemurs have small home-ranges and short travel distances.

Sportive Lemur

  • The Lac Alaotra Bamboo Lemur is unique, amongst all primates, as it is restricted to marshland surrounding Lake Alaotra in eastern Madagascar and live amongst the stands of reeds and papyrus. There are two sub-populations for this species and are thought to swim.

 Lac Alaotra Bamboo Lemur

There is one species of Lemur, which is my personal favourite, that have blue eyes. The Sclaters Lemur, aslo known as the Blue-Eyed Black Lemur, is the only primate other than humans to be born with blue eyes.

Female Sclaters Lemur

Lemur species are amongst the most endangered species in the world. Six species are on the top 25 most endangered primates in the world. Those species include the Red Ruffed Lemur, Blue-Eyed Black Lemur, Northern Sportive Lemur, Silky Sifaka, Madame Berthes Mouse Lemur and the Indri. All these species are very different in their shape, size, diet and habitat, but all populations are declining due to habitat loss and hunting, amongst other things. 

Silky Sifaka

Despite, the small amount of information provided here, you can see how amazing these primates are and how we really need to help protect them for future generations! To learn more about how you can help the Lemurs check out the Duke Lemur Center.

Ring Tailed Lemur

About the author: 
Sharon White is passionate about primates and wildlife in general, but she simply adores Lemurs. Sharon spends her time wither working as a photographer or with the Cheshire Wildlife Trust, passing on her passion for the natural world.
                                               ______________________________________________________

Disclaimer:
"The views and opinions expressed in the Diary of a Primatologist blog (except guest posts) are purely my own and are not in any way linked to any organisations I may represent or work with unless otherwise stated. All photos are my own unless otherwise stated and a source will be provided where other photos are used. If they are your photos and you would like them removed please just ask. The author retains full copyright for all content and photos and written permission is required before their use. The owner of the site is not liable for any content accessed through links posted."

Picture Sources:
Gray Mouse Lemur - http://www.phocus.org/images/animals/mammals/primates/lemurs/mmu-juv-lge-0213.jpg
Indri Lemur - http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2013/02/01/indri-lemur_wide-fcf5751b5d196f15456503c6c6bdc6cf7f98a974.jpg
Fork-marked/crowned Lemur - http://naturefiles.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/1112434235_2010_10_madagascar2_239.jpg
Fat-tailed Dwarf Lemur - http://dharing.zenfolio.com/img/s1/v6/p674106315-3.jpg
Sportive Lemur - http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/77/Lepilemur_edwardsi.jpg
Lac Alaotra Bamboo Lemur - http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-8OeKwLg_O1I/TfSyBz1dxNI/AAAAAAAALWM/PiwiUr89-O4/s640/lemur+22.jpg
Female Sclaters Lemur - http://farm9.static.flickr.com/8078/8291308573_5ec41214fe.jpg
Silky Sifaka - http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_HGR8yN2TVZc/S8YhKrmeFAI/AAAAAAAAACE/s7gwa9Yycpw/s1600/CD5294-02.jpg
Ring-Tailed Lemur - http://images.fineartamerica.com/images-medium-large/ring-tailed-lemur-lemur-catta-portrait-pete-oxford.jpg

Monday, 27 October 2014

Gorillas, Rebels & Heroes; that's Virunga!

I recently went along to the beautiful Hackney Picture House to finally see Virunga:The Movie. I have been wanting to see this documentary for months and finally got my chance, I was not disappointed. 


Source - http://now-here-this.timeout.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/HackneyPicturehouse_RG058.jpg

Taken from the movie promo:

"VIRUNGA IS THE INCREDIBLE TRUE STORY OF A GROUP OF BRAVE PEOPLE RISKING THEIR LIVES TO BUILD A BETTER FUTURE IN A PART OF AFRICA THE WORLD'S FORGOTTEN AND A GRIPPING EXPOSE OF THE REALITIES OF LIFE IN THE CONGO.”

All I can say is that it lived up to its expectations and I have not been on an emotional roller coaster like that for a long time. I was on the edge of my seat throughout the entire film and the cinematography is simply stunning. As you walk with the ranger patrols in the Virunga National Park and hear gun shots and bombs going off you really feel like you are there. Seeing Andre taking care of the orphaned gorillas and refusing to leave them on the cusp of rebels coming in almost brought me to tears. Finally, seeing Emmanuel de Merode (Chief Warden of Virunga National Park) saying "I will be the last one to leave" and addressing all the rangers in the morning was incredible. What these guys do, putting their lives literally on the line, to protect their country and its laws is fantastic and truly heroic.

Check out the trailer and feel your emotions connecting with the work they do. Then book to go and see it here - http://virungamovie.com/Screenings; you will not regret it.





After the film I knew we were going to have a Q & A with the producer, but when Andrea and Emmanuel popped up on screen as well I was shaking. After seeing the film and then talking to them was an experience I will remember for the rest of my life; I even got to ask a question.

Speaking with producers, Andre & Emmanuel via Skype


Here is a list of things you can do to help if you can't make a screening - http://virungamovie.com/#takeaction

Thank you for reading and I hope you will spread the word about what is going on in Virunga and about the brave men and women that fight to save it everyday.


Disclaimer:

"The views and opinions expressed in the Diary of a Primatologist blog are purely my own and are not in any way linked to any organisations I may represent or work with unless otherwise stated. All photos are my own unless otherwise stated and a source will be provided where other photos are used; if they are yours and you would like them taken down then please just ask. The author retains full copyright for all content and photos and written permission is required before their use. The owner of the site is not liable for any content accessed through links posted."



Saturday, 11 October 2014

Delicious Autumn Celeriac Soup

I don't know about you, but I love Autumn. I love the bronzing of leaves and the crunch of walking over them, I love the drop in temperature, but still the warm glow of the sun. I love the first frost and seeing your breath as you walk along a country lane. However, what I love most is the stews, pies and soups; oh yes the joys of One Pot Cooking!

People sometimes don't realise how quick and easy (and nutritious) soup can be. You have your classics, Tomato, Carrot & Corriander, Potato & Leek, what do they all have in common? Cheap, easy and based on healthy, colourful vegetables.

Today I want to elevate the Celeriac to first place and show off its earthy, nutty brilliance.

The WHAT? I hear you say. Yes the Celeriac, you have probably walked past it 100 times in the supermarket, well now it is time to dig deep and buy this weird looking bulbous vegetable, because its cheap and extremely tasty.

Source - http://www.taste.com.au/images/articles/celeriac06261152.jpg

Did you know that the Celeriac is related to the Carrot and packed full of goodness like Vitamin K, which is important for your bones. Also, it has been linked with helping against Alzheimer's disease having anti-cancer properties (1).

This soup took me perhaps 20 minutes start to finish and as I doubled the recipe it could feed 3-4 adults. All you need is celeriac, potatos, celery, garlic, onion and some seasoning. It could not be easier and you have no excuses to not give it a go. Also when you whiz it up you get a nice thick creamy texture that I just love. Just pop it into a bowl, sprinkle some black peper & chives on the top and away you go. Why not enjoy it with some crunchy, wholesome farmers bread?





The recipe I followed was just this simple one from the BBC website - http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/homestyleceleriacsou_87169

1. - http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/celeriac.html

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Home made Raw Energy (Monkey) Balls, great for protein.

I have decided to start blogging about food every so often. Mainly cause I enjoy cooking and sharing the recipes that I have found with others. Also, as a vegan I want to show people how easy it is to make delicious dishes without animal ingredients. I will try to keep a monkey theme to the recipes. 

As a lot of people always ask me where I get my protein from I thought I would start with a high protein snack.

So here goes...... 


Raw Energy (Monkey) Balls. 


When I first tried these balls I was astounded with two things. 1, the amazing taste & 2, how easily they apparently were to make.

One week later I gave it a go and I can honestly say it was actually very easy indeed. You can also mix and match the seeds and nuts you use, so it is a quite versitile recipe that you can adapt to how you like it. 

I only had ground almonds so that was my nut base, and I used a mix seed pack containing Pumpkin, Sunflower, Sesame & Linseeds. As I didn't have raw Cacao powder I used Coco, but I doubled the quantities as it is not as strong. When I had finished making the balls I rolled them in desiccated coconut; just cause I love coconut. Then an hour in the freezer to help them firm up. I have been advised that if stored in a container they can keep for up to six weeks in the fridge.



This recipes origins come from a food blogger named "Delciously Ella" and this link will take you to the recipe. CLICK HERE. 

Why not give it a go and let me know how you get on; a picture would be great. 

                                                 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Disclaimer: 
"The views and opinions expressed in the Diary of a Primatologist blog (except guest posts) are purely my own and are not in any way linked to any organisations I may represent or work with unless otherwise stated. All photos are my own unless otherwise stated and a source will be provided where other photos are used. If they are your photos and you would like them removed please just ask. The author retains full copyright for all content and photos and written permission is required before their use. The owner of the site is not liable for any content accessed through links posted."