Thursday 6 May 2010

Aye-aye; Endangered Species

Aye-ayes are found only on the island of Madagascar. These quirky looking creatures may not look like primates at first glance, but they are related to chimpanzees, apes, and humans.

Aye-ayes are dark brown or black and are distinguished by a bushy tail that is larger than their body. They also feature big eyes, slender fingers, and large, sensitive ears. Aye-ayes have pointed claws on all their fingers and toes except for their opposable big toes, which enable them to dangle from branches.

The video shows an aye aye finding wood-boring insect larvae moving under the bark by tapping on the tree, listening for hollow sounds, then breaking the bark with its jaws and  uses its longer middle fingers as tools to extract its tucker.

Although the aye-aye, are now protected by law, they have become critically endangered, because of two main reasons. The local native population believe coming across one of these unique primates means they have been cursed with an omen of ill luck. The native folk law dictates, that the bad luck disappears only upon slaughtering the critter. Secondly as in many developing third world countries with an expanding population, forests are felled for cash and to create more cultivation opportunities.

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