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September 13, 2010 | by  | in Opinion |
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RIP, Gidro the Black-and-White Ruffed Lemur

Houses were damaged beyond repair, train tracks curved into S-shapes, and chimneys toppled off buildings (and, in one instance, onto someone). Much has been made of Christchurch’s 7.1 magnitude earthquake two weeks ago, and it seems a miracle that no one was killed. However, there were animal casualties; most notably, Orana Wildlife Park lost one of its five black-and-white ruffed lemurs when 10-year-old Gidro, startled by the quake, jumped into the moat surrounding his enclosure and drowned. The life expectancy for ruffed lemurs in captivity is estimated to be around 36 years, so Gidro’s life was tragically brought to a premature end—simply because of his species’ inclination to be “very sensitive to habitat disturbance” (as Wikipedia delicately puts it). If Gidro, in life, behaved in a fashion typical of black-and-white lemurs (and we have no reason to believe otherwise), it’s likely that he would have enjoyed social grooming, assuming a suspensory posture while feeding on fruits and nectar; and moving quadrupedally. The park’s Animal Collection Manager Ian Adams described Gidro as “a fantastic animal to work with [and] a really nice-natured lemur”. Salient and ‘Animal of the Week’ extends their condolences to the surviving four lemurs.

Email suggestions for an upcoming ‘Animal of the Week’ to

Animals would do really well in pub quizzes if they could understand the questions.

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About the Author ()

Elle started out at Salient reviewing music. In 2010, she wrote features and Animal of The Week, which an informal poll revealed to be 40% of Victoria students' favourite part of the magazine. Alongside Uther Dean, she was co-editor for 2011. In 2012, she is chief features writer.

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