Calendar Home
Previous Day

August 9, 2003

Next Day
Perinet National Park holds the world's remaining population of Indri, the largest lemur. Adults weigh up to 25 - 30 lbs. They're living ewoks (did George Lucas come here for inspiration?). We won't forget the Indri song or jump. And while the Indri stands tall today, it's small compared to some extinct lemurs. The Archaeoindris, which weighed up to 440 lbs, was the size of an adult gorilla.
Indri can make horizontal leaps of 10 meters as they bound through the forest from tree to tree. Young Indri practice leaping at 4-5 months of age and by 8 months they can land successfully (the school of hard knocks).
The Indri song lasts for approximately five minutes and can be heard for 2 kilometers; it sounds like an air horn: a continuous, piercing, wailing cry. All members of a family group join in the song. Usually sung once an hour, the sounds bring together members of the same family and warn others away from the home territory. Juvenile Indri also sing solo to attract a mate. Besides singing, Indri bark alarm calls for aerial predators and hoot against ground threats.
The hands of Indri are large and strong so that they can cling to the trees as they leap throughout the forest. As in most primates, the thumb is opposable. The other fingers are held together by a webbing and work as one unit.
While we watched the Indri, a group of park ranger trainees watched us.