World Lemur Day is celebrated on the last Friday of October and this year, the holiday is scheduled to fall on October 27. The objective of this holiday is to raise awareness about the need to preserve this endangered species, and to celebrate its unique attributes. The holiday was first observed in 2014, when it was founded by Jonah Ratsimmbazafy in Antananarivo, Madagascar. Since then zoos and animal rights organizations across the globe have been celebrating this particular event. World Lemur Day is celebrated in tandem with the World Lemur Festival.
History of World Lemur Day
Lemurs are primates that belong to the suborder ‘Strepsirrhini.’ They evolved on the island of Madagascar for approximately 40 million years. They are thought to have evolved during a period known as the ‘Eocene,’ if not earlier. D.N.A.-based evidence suggests that they landed up on Madagascar between 40 to 52 million years ago. However, the migrations of humans onto the island about 2,000 years ago led to lemurs being restricted to around 10% of the land.
Lemurs were given their name around 1758 by Carl Linnaeus, the founder of modern binomial nomenclature. Their name is derived from the Latin ‘lemures,’ meaning ‘specters or ‘ghosts.’ In Malagasy culture, lemurs are believed to have souls capable of getting revenge if wronged. This belief has caused a sense of taboo, or ‘fady’ surrounding the mammals. In popular culture, Western culture specifically, lemurs have been featured as characters in children’s films like “Dinosaurs” and “Madagascar.”
Today, several species of lemurs are critically endangered. They are threatened by a myriad of environmental issues, hunting, climate change, and the exotic pet trade. They are running out of resources for survival, largely due to habitat destruction and degradation. The holiday was first observed in 2014, when it was founded by Jonah Ratsimmbazafy in Antananarivo, Madagascar. Since then zoos and animal rights organizations across the globe have been celebrating this particular event. World Lemur Day is celebrated in tandem with the World Lemur Festival, a festival in Madagascar that aims to raise awareness about the plight of lemur species.
World Lemur Day timeline
Early lemurs arrive in Madagascar.
Humans arrive in Madagascar.
Lemurs are named.
World Lemur Day is celebrated for the first time.
World Lemur Day FAQs
What is the rarest lemur in the world?
The northern sportive lemur is the rarest in the world.
Do lemurs lay eggs?
No, they’re mammals.
What animal is King Julian from Madagascar?
He’s a ring-tailed lemur!
How to Observe World Lemur Day
Learn about lemurs
Lemurs are fascinating creatures. Learn about lemurs this World Lemur Day.
Talk about it on social media
Help World Lemur Day’s purpose by talking about mammals and their plight on social media. Maybe even get your friends and family involved.
If it’s within your means, donate to the conservation efforts being made to save the lemur population. Any amount helps.
5 Interesting Facts About Lemurs
Madagascar is the only place on the planet that is a natural home for lemurs.
There are over 100 species of lemurs.
An extra tongue
Lemurs have two tongues!
Apart from humans, lemurs are the only other primates that have blue eyes.
Oldest living primates
Lemurs are the world’s oldest living primates.
Why World Lemur Day is Important
It celebrates lemurs
Lemurs are awesome. We think any day that celebrates such a lovely creature is important.
It’s an excuse to learn about lemurs
Lemurs are intrinsically complex animals. We think World Lemur Day is the perfect opportunity to learn more about them.
It raises awareness about a serious issue
Lemurs are on the edge of extinction. World Lemur Day serves the very important purpose of raising awareness about the danger this primate is in.
World Lemur Day dates