Thursday, November 21, 2013

Creature Feature #37: Babakoto

From one lemur to another - this one is the Babakoto, more commonly named “Indri”. It is the largest of the lemur species, the size of a small child, and belongs to the Sifaka family. With its long legs and lanky appearance, the Babakoto cannot walk on all fours but must instead make squatting hops on the rare occasion that it pursues a terrestrial lifestyle. For the most part, it lives high in the trees, where its long legs allow it to make impressive leaps from tree to tree as it forages for its diest of leaves. Like most of its Family, babakoto have a highly specialised diet that cannot be replicated in captivity, therefore the only hope for their future is in the wilds of Madagascar - which are still disappearing.

Once protected and revered, by a fady, taboo, surrounding it, the babakoto is now being poached by for the pot. There are various myths surrounding the creation of the babakoto which also explain its Malagasy name which literally translates as “father of the boy”.

Its call is among the most haunting sounds I have ever heard, akin to whalesong and heavy with melancholy and longing. It is the sound of a dying wilderness and a species approaching the brink of extinction..

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