lemur Island: Tuesday March 20

lemur island (3/10) 19.15–20.00

In a small, undisturbed corner of the remote island of Madagascar lives a remarkable and unique prosimian species: the ring-tailed lemur. This astonishing ten-part series, filmed over a year, provides a lemur’s-eye view of these fascinating creatures as they go about their daily routine of foraging for food, escaping the clutches of predators and fiercely guarding their territory.

On a cool and misty morning, members of one of the island’s lemur troops, the Graveyard Gang, are slow to wake from their sleeping huddles in the treetops. They will stay like this until their dominant female, Crystal, leads them out on their daily search for food, although one young male seems keen to leave the safety of the canopy. Like most youngsters, six-month-old Hogarth wants to explore his surroundings.

But trouble is never far away in the forest. Local birds of prey are among the dangers –and they are easily big enough to make a meal of a Graveyard Gang member. As well as predators, the gang must keep a lookout for rival lemurs like the three roving males who are approaching the edge of the Graveyards’ territory. Led by five-year-old Titus, they have left their own family groups in the hope of making contact with unrelated females. Titus is in his prime and only has mating in mind. Has this clouded his judgment?

Certainly he should know better than to approach across open ground. The object of his interest is Topaz, the sister of the Graveyards’ dominant female, Crystal. She is in season –which for ring-tailed lemurs only happens on one day of the year. All three Rovers try to impress Topaz, but the Graveyards’ dominant male, Blake, is vigilant, and mounts a surprise attack from above. While Rivet –perhaps the weakest of the three Rovers – scarpers, Errol and Titus stick around. But Topaz has chosen her fellow Graveyard Gang member Blake as her suitor, impressed by his status. Undeterred, Titus embarks on a stink fight to win Topaz around, vigorously rubbing his tail against his shoulders and between his wrists to infuse his fur with scent. When a furious Blake emerges victorious yet again, the defeated Rovers finally retreat to the forest to regroup.

In all this commotion, none of the animals seem to have noticed that young Hogarth has wandered off and is now around a kilometre away from the cemetery that forms the Graveyards’ base camp. Instinctively he calls out, but his family are too far away to hear him. The six-month-old’s purposeful trek through the undergrowth suggests a confidence beyond his tender age and stands him in good stead as he finally reaches the familiar territory of the graveyard. But with no sign of the rest of his troop, this is a dangerous place to be. As the evening draws in, Hogarth must look for a resting spot, but can he survive the night alone?

About the author

  • Anonymous

    I am writng to you about some questions I have . Why do you just keep filming when you know that the lemurs are in danger why not help them instead of just watching them struggle to live it is not normal for you just to stand by . I have read books about ring tail lemurs and seen them on tv . I have watched people help them instead of just standing by and watch them die . I dont agree with just watching animals struggle to live
    From jackie

  • Anonymous

    I am writng to you about some questions I have . Why do you just keep filming when you know that the lemurs are in danger why not help them instead of just watching them struggle to live it is not normal for you just to stand by . I have read books about ring tail lemurs and seen them on tv . I have watched people help them instead of just standing by and watch them die . I dont agree with just watching animals struggle to live
    From jackie

  • Anonymous

    I am writng to you about some questions I have . Why do you just keep filming when you know that the lemurs are in danger why not help them instead of just watching them struggle to live it is not normal for you just to stand by . I have read books about ring tail lemurs and seen them on tv . I have watched people help them instead of just standing by and watch them die . I dont agree with just watching animals struggle to live
    From jackie

  • Anonymous

    I agree. To be able to watch a young lemur with a broken leg and not help it is not normal human behaviour. Does this explain the lack of humanity to help others in young people today.

  • Anne

    I can understand that it is impossible to save all endangered animals, but trying to humanise them, give them names, follow their progress and leave them to struggle and die is just callous.
    I was sobbing when the last picture of Gizmo was shown.

  • Hanah

    I agree, this was heartbreaking to watch and can not understand how callous some people must be, to watch an infant struggling to live in pain and hunger.
    Why could this little creature not be helped?

  • laskovar

    Oh my God, like minded people. I was sooooo traumatised when Gizmo died…It destroyed me emotionally. I agree the camera crew are inhuman, why not step in, capture him & pass him on to an animal refuge? He could have then lived, helping to educate others about Lemurs and their importance. sod this ‘we can’t interfere’ stance…& the leader of the troop & Gizmos mum need a slap for being horrible…

    Gizmo died…..poor Gizmo RIP

  • Anonymous

    Copied from ‘Lemur Island 14 March’ section of this forum:

    Thought you might be interested that this has been raised by an upset 11yr old boy on channel five’s website. Thought you might want to repeat some of you comments on there http://www.five.tv/viewerforum

    I’ve tried to add something to the Channel5 site but it’a not appeared yet – maybe I did it wrong.

    PS – Poor Gizmo. Such a brave little chap.

  • richard freeman

    As regards poor little Gizmo..WHY! did nobody help him who are these cold blooded nasty film makers.Have you no soul..Was it a better program because he died.Did it get a bigger reaction!!! You should have helped little gizmo to survive after you got your hours worth out of him. He deserved a life after such a struggle.

    Richard Freeman..

  • lynda

    2 days after watching this programme all i can think about is poor Gizmo. I thought with telling his story he was going to survive, when he died i was heartbroken. Shame on the camera crew for letting that brave little animal die.

  • Anonymous

    Two days after this show, I’m still thinking about poor Gizmo. I’m glad to see I’m not alone.

    I found this website which is run by a charity doing conservation work on Madagascar, which will help lemurs.

    http://www.madagascar.co.uk/pages/az_christmas_cards.html

    I’ve sent them a donation and would love to volunteer for one of their projects working in Madagascar in the future. You can even buy charity Christmas cards from them and I know I’ll be doing that.

    It’s not much comfort but if brave Gizmo’s struggle can highlight the plight of other lemurs and help them too then maybe it wasn’t totaly in vein.

    As said, I think it was terrible the film makers didn’t step in and save him.

    I recorded the show and when I watched it I noticed a few times it was inconsistent and was able to rewind and check. For example when we see the fight where Gizmo falls out of the tree it looks like two full grown lemurs rather than one full grown and a young one. Sometimes these shows are edited together from un-related footage…. I keep hoping Gizmo’s death wasn’t real…. but I know it probably was.

  • Anonymous

    I am writing about what happened on lurmur iland about gizmo I think it was wrong for the pepole filming him to let that happen and not doing nothing to help but having read about him i wonder if he is still alive and well because there never said anything about gizmor dieing in it i just hope that gizmor is alive and doing well .

  • Steve

    You are all obviously morons. It is called natural history for a reason. I never saw David Attenborough run from the behind the camera and jump in the way of a Lion eating a buffalo. Maybe you just wanna save the cute animals. I bet you don’t worry about the cows and the sheep as they are needed for Sunday dinner.

  • Chiara

    Looking desperately for a copy of the show, I am more than willing to pay costs involved, plus shipping. I live in Belgium. Anyone can help? Thanks in advance! Chiara

  • David

    Reading these comments makes me wonder about people, yes it is sad that a Lemur died but as said below, this is nature. The whole point of programmes like this is to show a person what real nature is and that sadly includes death whether that is from ill health, predators or starvation, this is what real life is, these animals do not live in zoo. It would be far more irresponsible of the film crew it intervene in the natural events that unfold in front of them, they could potentially do far more damage in the long run, animals died for a reason, ever heard of survival of the fittest?
    Having just returned from working in Madagascar maybe you should be more concerned about the poverty that exits there, the child mortality rate is 1 in 10 and mostly through preventable causes. And perhaps the destruction of the forest is also a bigger worry, Madagascar has been deforested by up to 90% in the last 80 years, believe me there is very little left. If you have any real concerns then you could consider doing something more positive and not spending so much energy on worrying about one single animal.
    If you do want to do something then look here. http://www.madagascar.co.uk

  • Steve

    how can the film crew stand by and watch Gizmo a 5 month old infant suffer and fight for his life this baby lemur was dealt a bad hand of cards and the film crew could of made a difference instead of lining their pockets with money, i know nature should run it’s course but as humans we can change things for the better and Gizmo’s life would of been one those better things, if this was done to make an impact to the program it work for the wrong reason and i won’t be watching Lemur street again. if they where filming children getting treated like that something would be done about it?

  • Steve

    This thing with regards to Gizmo has knock me for six, i only seem it last night and i can’t get it out of my head. its the way the program made it personal by giving him a name and making the story and his hardships more human, i know this sound sad but i run a company and seen a lot of horrific things in my life but this story break my heart, help how do i stop this effecting me!

  • luci

    On Animal Police you save a frog’s leg as for Gizmo …you let him die. That’s just stupid. I agree with not interfering but he was not food for other animals, he wasn’t hunted down or something like that. He could have been taken to an animal shelter and that wouldn’t mean interfering with the course of nature but just helping a friend… You chose wrong ! There are enough atrocities that make us love animals, we didn’t need another one ! Peace ..

  • Maja

    I was thinking for a while that I’am alone with my impresions after this program but fortunately it turned out I’am not. I have seen this epidode yesterday and I can’t stop thinking about poor Gizmo… It was horrible and schocking. Why didn’t they help him? I can’t really imagine it… It was helpless animal baby isolated from his family and in these circumstances human intervention din’t disturb anything.

  • Angela

    Hey, where have my comments from yesterday gone? Also, someone called Magjii (sorry I cannot rememebr the spelling) posted comments that have also gone!

  • Angela

    Please could the people involved in the filming and production of “Lemur Street” respond to some of the comments posted here about the death of Gizmo? Given that much of their filming of this series showed lemurs interracting with humans living around them and going about their business around them, can the film crew (and others) honestly say that to step in and help little Gizmo would have been sucha dreadful thing? I know the film crew cannot keep dropping every thing and rushing off to the nearest wildlife refuge every five minutes with some or other waif and stray, but we all know that situations such as those in which Gizmo found himself are rarely witnessed by people, and who happen to be in the right place at the at the right time and who therefore could have helped him. Lemurs have suffered teribly at the hands of man, what with the trade in bushmeat, and loss of habitat to feed and support a human population that is far too big both in Madagascar and globally. cannot humans show more comapssion to other species of animals? And yes, we ARE another species of animal!!!! Like it or not, we are part of the dynamics of this planet, so why should more enlightened and compassionate folk not step in and help animals in need?
    Please see my comments of yesterday posted on the Throng site. (Please person-in charge put them back on this Lemur Street page!)

    Sometimes we must not interfere with an interraction of predator and prey for example. So no, I was not unduly upset by Blossom’s demise at the talons of a hawk in “Meerkat manor”, neither do I want to rush in and save a baby fawn from a mother cheetah who has caught it in order for her cubs to test their hunting and killing skills on. These situations ARE different to that in which Gizmo found himself. He could have been rescued (like many animals are rescued and taken to animal shelters all over the world)and possibly he might have recovered and could be placed in a good animal facility or even rehabilitated back to the wild with other orphans or injured youngsters once they had a chance to grow.
    I think it was despicable how the film crew could just stand by watch him suffer. I would like their responses to my comments and those of others here. Would they have stood by and watched a child suffer like that? If not, why not? I don’t see the difference between helping a child and helping an animal: both are honourable and good acts- and a sign of more enlightened and compassionate people. Yes I know people eat meat etc etc, (we evolved as meat eaters- that’s why we have such large brains, so it is natural for us to eat meat) but we have choices as to how we treat our farm animals, and how we react to animals in distress. There is always room for an extra ounce of compassion in this world.

  • Angela

    In a forthcoming episode of Lemur Street, newborn baby Prince will die. Given the controversy surrounding the lack of human help for Gizmo who may have stood a fair chance of surviving being not too young, I would like to comment on Prince’s situation which was very different to that of Gizmo. Any attempts to help Prince would sadly enough, likely to be in vain. Being so young, Prince would have needed a good supply of colostrum (first mother’s milk) which is high in antibodies to help fight infection, even if he had survived and been picked up by humans. Even with the best of human care many very young orphaned animals do not survive for long if they have had little or no colostrum: they just cannot fight off the slightest infection, so in Prince’s case, it would be probably futile to try to help. I still maintain that it would have been a decent thing however to step in and help Gizmo.

  • Anonymous

    As sad as it was that Gizmo died, camera crews are usually forbidden from helping injured animals as to not interfere with nature. The researchers on Meerkat Manor were only allowed to interfere in the case of something like a TB epidemic which could have wiped out many meerkats as well as other creatures.

  • David JC

    Survival of the fittest also applies to the Human animal–and, fortunately, not all the human ‘Gizmos’ can nor should be helped either (more population than natural resources would result)–so don’t play that tune. The difference is that the fitness of the Human animal is determined by the $$ value of its assets, not, as with other species, where fitness is defined as the age at which a member of any particular species is able to find a mate, reproduce and locate sufficient, appropriate nourishment and necessary shelter and, if appropriate, socialize with other members of the same group.

    Gizmo, in my humble opinion, epitomized the ‘heart’ necessary for most of the Human animals on this planet to survive past the ‘age of fitness’ and intervening to bring/put him in a healthy sanctuary is part of the responsibilities of the Human animal in caring for all the different kinds of ‘natural’ resources.

  • dusty

    I think it’s pretty sad that these so called film crews watch these helpless animals die instead of intervening and helping them.The case of Flower the meerkat is a very good example of that.We live in a time of environmentalists,for the planet and all species of animals.If and when we can help we should.I’d like to think we are now more civilized than ever as a people.Wether it’s the Lemurs or Meerkats if they are going to take the time to film these animals the least they can do is lend a helping hand when it’s needed most.

  • Anonymous

    That’s right David JC! Survival of the fittest also applies to the Human animal—and fortunately (as you put it) not all the human ‘David JC’s’ can nor should be helped either!!!!

    Oh, don’t change that tune for yourself.

    And if you’re beat up and robbed and laying on the sidewalk. I’ll get a great picture, don’t you worry about that!

  • wyatt

    You make a good point David, save one major reason dumb ass. Lemurs along with all the other exotic life on Earth are being threatened by our speeding up the globes (usually natural) warming process, the animals don’t have the proper time to adapt and will most likely die in massive numbers. This leads to the conclusion that we should save as many as we can to preserve what we may very well be destroying. The world would look awful bleak without all the animals around, wouldn’t it?

    If you truly believe in survival of the fittest doesn’t that mean when a natural disaster hits the victims should therefore be left to fend for themselves and/or die?

    I rest my case, arse.

    And as for Lemur Island, I will most likely never watch that show again. Maybe even Animal Planet in general.

  • Wyatt

    I was ripping on the first david btw, not David JC.

  • Wyatt

    to the anonymous poster:

    so you would help anyone? even Hitler?

    oh that’s right we humans are so important aren’t we? that’s why we wage war, murder, steal, lie and rape. cause we’re the “chosen” made in “his image” right?

    please, we should get down on our knees and thank nature for not wiping us off the face of this Earth.

    You, deserve to be reborn as a bacterium living on the underside of a toilet in the subway of new york’s dirtiest district. 😛

    you just got PWNED batch!

  • mia

    I was hesitant to start watching Lemur Kingdom in the first place because of my experience with Meerkat Manor. I found myself getting too attached to these precious animals with their unique personalities and courageous struggles. As soon as I saw Gizmo’s body lying in the road like some mere object, I turned off Animal Planet and said good-bye to watching those animal dramas forever. I understand the philosophy of not “interfering” with nature, but to sit back and watch a helpless creature suffer and die makes no sense to me. These type of outcomes to animals that have been personalized are only going to turn people off.

  • Lee Scott

    I love animals. That’s why I am a vegetarian. But I don’t get high and mighty with others who choose to eat meat. Free will is a gift I appreciate and I would not take it away from others.

    That being said, I am upset that filming continued with no interference for Gizmo. But how many other animals died that day that weren’t on film? Isn’t everyone upset just because they KNOW about his death? Let it go, friends. It breaks my heart but it is what happens in the jungle EVERY DAY.

    How many human babies were aborted in the US or have died from malnutrition in Africa today? And what about Myanmar, where children left orphaned by the flooding and who are going to starve to death in the next few days? What about the rampant sexual abuse of children worldwide? Where is the compassion and sympathy and action for our own race?

    As humans, I believe our priorities are WAY off. In Durango, CO one weekend last year, there was a fundraiser for a Children’s Hospital and a fundraiser for a new animal hospital. Guess what were the results…the animal hospital received over $100,000 in donations whereas the Children’s Hospital raised $6,000. Note to self: don’t get sick in Durango, Colorado.

    Will the beautiful animals miss us – or even notice – when we wipe ourselves off the planet with war, greed, and selfishness?

  • Anonymous

    Not helping Gizmo, because it would be interfering with nature, is the lamest excuse I’ve ever heard.. People interfere with nature all the time… With cloning, anti-aging etc… And the world is getting more fucked up by every minute..! It wouldn’t hurt anyone if this poor animal was saved.. It would only be for the better…

  • Anonymous

    I cannot believe that whoever filmed the progamme did not help Gizmo. I watched it this afternoon on channel 5, thinking it was going to be a survival story but I could not believe it. Ive been so upset by it, how can a mothe rof any species not care for their own child and why did the leader of the same tribe attack Gizmo. Its deeply upset me. Poor little gizmo his three day ordeal, I honestly thought he would slowly recover.
    Humans should interfere with nature when it calls for it like gizmo’s exmaple. The image afterwards should not have been shown when he did not survive. I hope that for the next horrible situation someone does rescue the animal in danger and pain. After all why do we all strive for peace and want to preserve nature if humans are not going to help nature?

  • Anonymous

    It is sad that an animal died – I love animals and hate seeing them die. But, sadly, it is the way of life. Gizmo’s death might have helped other animals live. If anyone interferes with an animals death, then it could mean another animal suffers because of it. It’s the way of life, and no one can interfere with wild animals. If a human helped Gizmo, the Graveyards could have turned against him and killed him themselves, because he carries human scent.

  • BBC One
  • BBC Two
  • BBC Three
  • ITV1
  • ITV2
  • 4
  • E4
  • Film4
  • More4
  • Five
  • Fiver
  • Sky1