Lemur Island: Tuesday May 8

lemur island (10/10)

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 these fascinating creatures as they go about their daily routine. In the last episode of the series, the members of the Graveyard Gang find their territory disturbed, and the two packs come into direct conflict.

It is an eerie morning in ring tail territory. Cold, moist air has blown in from the drying riverbed and condensed over the hot ground, leaving a lingering mist. The sun burns off the moisture, but a cloud still hangs over the graveyard. Sensing a change in the air, dominant female Crystal is tense and the troop is unsettled. When a small Madagascan hedgehog called a tenrec haplessly wanders into the graveyard, the normally confident Crystal flees to higher ground. The harmless tenrec soon disappears and the troop go in search of breakfast, but the curious atmosphere remains.

Deeper in the forest, Amazon, the dominant female of the Tornado troop, is having problems of her own. As the gang’s fierce leader, she is generally first to eat and drink, but she now has other mouths to feed. With the dominant female of the troop for a mother, little Orinoco is Tornado royalty, but Amazon has a dubious history of motherhood. After she left her last baby to fend for himself, he was attacked by the gang’s old leader and died. Luckily for Orinoco, however, granny Flame is around to keep an eye on him. Having successfully raised three children herself, the tough Flame finds herself having to teach her careerminded daughter a thing or two about parenting.

Back in Graveyard territory, the gang have finished their breakfast of cactus. Looking for a drink, they head to the water trough, only to find their territory teeming with people. As an empty coffin passes by, it is obvious that something very strange is going on. Escaping the chaos, the gang head into the forest for a post-breakfast nap, but soon run into further trouble as they unwittingly stumble onto Tornado turf. Flame picks up the foreign scent and the Tornado girls fall into line –the Graveyards must break the Tornado defence if they are to win the inevitable battle.

As the conflict commences, Orinoco clings tightlyto his mother who wins the first round. Reforming the line, the Tornados hold their position, before Amazon and Crystal go head to head. Amazon drops back while Crystal lunges, but the Tornados counter, and maintain their line once more. Each side lays claim with scent, but the Tornados have the upper hand and, after a final flurry, the defeated Graveyards scatter. The victorious Tornado females regroup and gather their young, but Orinoco cannot keep up and becomes separated from the others. Being alone in the harsh Madagascan environment is always dangerous for a young lemur, but during a drought when food is scarce, it can be fatal.

As they return to their territory after the defeat, the Graveyard Gang are greeted with more bad luck. The first to arrive home, Emily is stopped in her tracks as she discovers that the graveyard has been desecrated. Their once familiar stamping ground now smells like a foreign land and Crystal is very confused. As part of a religious ceremony, some of the human bodies present in the graveyard have been disinterred for reburial with family relatives, causing all sorts of disruption to the lemurs’ surroundings. This human ceremony for the dead, it seems, has sent the graveyard’s living residents into a tailspin. The group’s dominant male, Blake, frantically tries to reinstate his scent, but his efforts are merely a drop in the ocean.

About the author

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