Tails From The Canopy
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Projects for Individuals and Classes
in a Name?
The word Lemur comes from the Latin and means ‘spirit of
the dead’. The lemurs got their name from the Romans
who explored Madagascar and heard the primates before they saw them.
The animals’ calls reminded the Romans of ghosts and so
they got their name.
Many species of animals have names which
either come from a human association…. As with Lemurs, or which have been
given to certain human characteristics such as a “Shrew”.
But do lemurs really resemble ghosts; are nagging, over talkative
people really like shrews?
Have students explore 3 animal names with distinct cultural
significance. Then have them research the behavior of the animals
they have chosen. Have them explore the history of the names
and report on their perceived appropriateness.
If I Were A Lemur
There are 22 species of lemur, from the largest the Indri… to
the smallest, the Mouse Lemur. Different species live in different
habitats and have different diets, social structures, and life
styles. Some are nocturnal… some are diurnal. Have each
student pick a species of lemur and research its behavior, habitat
and conservation status. When they have completed their research
have students write a story, from their lemur’s perspective,
about a day in the wild. The story should reflect the information
that each student has learned in research, as well as show imaginative
insight. (Students could also research the life and behavior
of Fossa and write the story from the predator’s perspective).
Instead of a story some students may want to take their research
information and using art supplies create a diorama of a particular
lemur species habitat. They should try to reasonably represent
and label the plants and terrain, and include lemurs and predators
in realistic ways.
Eyes On The Lemur
The lemurs in the film live at the Tiger Homes Wildlife Sanctuary.
As depicted in the film, the sanctuary has a web site where
individuals can watch the animals via cameras in their enclosures.
Have students pick one of the lemur species to observe and
have them log on to the web site www.tigerhomes.org once a
day for a week. Each day they should watch the behaviors of
the lemurs and keep a log of what they see. They can also do
this in groups with each member of the group observing the
lemurs at the same time every day. Example student A watches
and logs behavior every day from 3:00p.m. to 3:20, student
B observes and logs from 4:00-4:20, and so on. At the end of
the observation period the students can put their logs together
to see a more comprehensive picture of the animals’ behavior
and habits. At the end of the research period students might
want to email the keepers at Tiger Home with questions that
their observations may have raised.
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