Species: Avahi Cleesei
Long time readers of Seed should be familiar with this woolly lemur. It was discovered in 1990, but was not described and named, for a variety of reasons, until 2005. The species was named after John Cleese (more on that below).
Cleese’s lemur resides in Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park in western Madagascar. It prefers subhumid dry deciduous forests. It is diurnal and is a folivore with, apparently, a narrow diet feeding on only a few preferred tree types. They are about the same size as sportive lemurs. Other than that, not much is known about them.
You may be wondering why someone would name a lemur after John Cleese. The answer is simple, Cleese loves lemurs and has made several documentaries about them.
As he says in New Scientist:
I was really touched, and indeed, honoured (a cliché, but it’s true), when Urs Thalmann told me they would like to name the lemur after me (12 November, p 6).
I’m absurdly fond of the little creatures, and if I had to show any of my programmes to St Peter upon my arrival at the Pearly Gates, I think I would show him my documentary made about them in Madagascar. I help with conservation a bit, here and there, and so will redouble my efforts for our furry friends.
Below is Cleese’s documentary on lemurs.