Lemur Island: Tuesday March 27

lemur island (4/10) 19.15–20.00

In a corner of the remote island of Madagascar lives a remarkable and unique prosimian species: the ring-tailed lemur. This ten-part series provides a lemur’s eye view of a community of these fascinating creatures as they go about their daily routine. In this week’s episode, mating season arrives and the males compete to woo the females.

For the Tornado family of lemurs, the day begins with the discovery that their territory has been invaded by farmers. The members of the troop wander through the field as tractors churn up the earth. The lead characters of the family become clear: bad-tempered Electra, the dominant female, and Flash, the head male. Cocky and confident with his male pals, Flash is nonetheless subordinate to the girls in the female-dominated lemur society.

As the pack moves on, young cub and ‘spoiled brat’ Chelsea becomes separated from her pushover mum, Stella, and finds herself on her own for the first time. Wandering through the long grass, her cries are drowned out by the noise of the harvest. Chelsea’s adventure nearly comes to a premature end under the wheels of the tractor, but she manages to retreat up a tree, where she waits dejectedly for the return of her family.

Over in the Graveyard family, male lemur Milton is tired of playing second fiddle to chief male Blake and decides to scout about for some female attention. His path takes him into Tornado territory, where a delicate mating game is about to begin.

Lemur females mate only once a year, so there is stiff competition for the males. The females are also aggressive creatures, making any romantic approach a risky proposition. Out in the road, Stella is calling out to the missing Chelsea, but her calls attract the attention of Flash, who is in an amorous mood. Chelsea at first rebuffs Flash’s advances, but as the troop relocates to a clump of cactuses for lunch, his charms begin to work. Rubbing his scent over his tail, Flash finally persuades Stella to sneak off with him into the bushes. Upon their return, Flash is flushed with success and decides to try his luck on another female, Amazon. This time, however, he is quickly sent packing.

When the meal of cactus juice is over, the Tornado family make their way back to their sleeping spot and discover Chelsea perched in her tree. A reunion between mother and relieved daughter takes place, and before long Stella is back to her servile ways, ferrying Chelsea about on her back.

The next day brings plenty of sun for the lemurs to enjoy. Dominant Electra sits apart from the group, but she is still attracting interest from the cautious males, who sense her mating time is due. Flash is on the prowl, only to launch into action when an interloper arrives. Graveyard family member Milton has picked up the females’ scent and a brutal fight ensues, but the refined Milton is no match for brawler Flash.

A monsoon downpour briefly halts events, and Milton retreats to lick his wounds. But once the rain abates and Flash renews his wooing, scentmarking twigs and trees by rubbing against them. To his joy and astonishment, both Electra and Amazon seem to have fallen under his spell! Faced with the family boss, his nerve falters, but in the end Flash succeeds, and he spends the rest of the day chasing off rivals to keep Electra to himself.

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