About the Project

The ZooTrophy Animal-a-Day project began on October 15th, 2013 as illustrator Angela "LemurKat" Oliver began working her way, systematically but selectively, through the alphabet and presenting, via social media, an illustrated animal to the world. Daily.

All pieces are drawn as 2.5 x 3.5 inch collectible cards, using a combination of polychromos and prismacolor pencils, along with other art materials. Many are still available for purchase ($10) or trade, so drop her an email if anything captures your eye or if there is an animal you wish to request.

It is predicted this project will take her at least two years to complete - with approximately 36 animals being drawn for each letter. She has also used the images to create a collectible hardback encyclopedia series, playing cards and a desk calendar, as well as the ZooTrophy collectible trading card game.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Creature Feature #418: Lemur

There are over 100 species of Lemur, all confined to the island of Madagascar. They are an example of divergent evolution, in which a small ancestral population lead to a wide diversification and adaptation to the environment. Many species are small and nocturnal, but the most well known are the diurnal species, like this Ringtail Lemur. Lemurs are one of the few mammals with a matriarchal structure: females are dominant to males (in most species). Most are social, and live in family groups, following a vegetarian or omnivorous diet.

Ringtailed Lemurs, despite being the "poster boy" for the Clade as a whole, only live in the dry forests of southern and south-west Madagascar. They are highly social, with a rigid hierarchy. Males compete with one another in "stink fights" in which they rub scent from their wrist glands along their tails and wave these at one another. Seldom to these demonstrations turn to actual violence. Other uses for the ringed tail include balance as they leap through the trees, and to communicate with other members of their troop as they forage.

Due to a combination of deforestation (Madagascar is 90% deforested) and hunting, 90% of Lemur species are endangered and 10% of those are critically endangered, meaning that there is a very high chance of extinction. With Madagascar being one of the poorest countries in the world, it will be a struggle to save these amazing creatures (and the many other unique species found on the island) but luckily there are dedicated conservation teams from all over the world working with the locals to help protect, and even restore, where they can. So, we can but hope.

If you wish to help the lemurs and the people of Madagascar, here is a list of a few of the agencies that have various projects on the island:

Azafady: http://www.madagascar.co.uk/index.htm
Duke University Lemur Centre: http://lemur.duke.edu/
Aspinall Foundation: http://www.aspinallfoundation.org/
Durrell Wildlife Consevation Trust: http://www.durrell.org

And here's another list with more:

I am very passionate about lemurs, and about Madagascar (having visited there in 2007) and her people. the thought that many of the species I saw, or didn't see (like the elusive Bamboo Lemur) could become extinct within my lifetime is heart-breaking.

If you do donate to any of these above, let me know and I'll send you a free ebook of my novel "Fellowship of the Ringtails" (for Kindle or epub). It's epic fantasy, with lemurs.

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