The story appears on

Page B14

April 17, 2011

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Feature » Animal Planet

Lemur love story's sad ending

A pair of ring-tailed lemurs living in separate groups at the Shanghai Wildlife Park were "married" recently after experiencing a "long and winding love story" - although the ending of the amorous tale was not so sweet for the husband.

Officials said "cross-group marriage" is traditionally non-existent among lemurs but, somehow, a male lemur named A Sen went against tradition and lemur nature to woo a female lemur from another group.

The three-year-old lemur's lover is A Ying, who is the same age as him. A Ying belonged to another lemur group, which lived next to A Sen's group in the park. A large wire fence parted the two groups, park officials said.

The love story began one morning last November. While A Sen was strolling around his area, he saw A Ying on the other side of the fence. A Sen must have fallen in love with her at first sight, as he was soon leaning on the fence and squeaking at her, although the female lemur did not respond.

On the second day, A Sen repeated his mating call and wagged his tail. This time A Ying eventually noticed him and came to the fence to squeak back at her suitor.

Early the next day, A Ying was waiting for A Sen at the fence for their "first date." Although parted by the wire, the two combed each other's hair and squeaked with excitement.

Noticing the unusual acts between the two lemurs, the feeders decided to play cupid. They caught A Sen with a net and, although it could have been rather dangerous for him, put him into the area where A Ying's group lived.

Officials explained that coming from Madagascar, ring-tailed lemurs have a strong idea of "groups." Two lemur groups hardly mix with each other, and conflict often occurs if members of other groups intrude.

As expected, the male lemur faced hostility from A Ying's family. A Ying's friends repeatedly attacked the newcomer with the smells released from their scent glands. But the determined A Sen remained resilient against the odorous attacks, proving his love for A Ying. Several days later, his perseverance paid off when he was finally accepted as a new member of the group.

By that time, A Ying seemed to love A Sen even more. The two stuck with each other all the time, feeding and combing each other.

Soon after the "honeymoon period," A Ying became pregnant and last month she gave birth to twins. However, the birth indicated the beginning of tragedy in A Sen's life.

A Ying and her sisters took care of the babies, while the father A Sen was abandoned by his wife and "in-laws."

Feeders said this was a normal phenomenon, as ring-tailed lemur groups are a "matrilineal society," so male lemurs have no position in the group once they have completed the task of reproduction. Therefore, except for at eating times, A Sen has been forced to live the rest of life in solitude.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend