I'm ambivalent about zoos, because I don't like to see animals confined. But a recent visit to Drusillas Park in East Sussex gave me a welcome opportunity to see some of my favourite species, and to take many photographs, especially of the photogenic lemurs! The sociable ring-tails, which seem to spend a lot of time huddled together and grooming each other, are incredibly striking with their inordinately long, striped tails, subtly coloured backs, endearing, wet black muzzles and expressive faces. As with many lemur species, their brilliant orange eyes are extraordinary. Also in the enclosure were a couple of male and female black lemurs (the females, confusingly, aren't black at all). As I watched and photographed these beautiful animals, I kept reminding myself that they are primates, as their grasping hands make immediately obvious. That means that, although their evolutionary line diverged from ours a lot earlier than that of the great apes, they are still close relatives of ours. And since their only home in the wild is Madagascar, it's always a privilege to be able to get so close to them. Having had an emotional time lately, it was great to get out on a sunny day and see some wonderful creatures from all over the planet. So despite being on my feet for far too long and experiencing a pain flare-up afterwards, I enjoyed every minute.
Some of the lemur photos as well as of other animals - otters, prairie dogs, meerkats, fennec foxes - have been added to the Animals gallery on my photography website. You can see them at www.michaelbentleyphotography.co.uk. More to come soon! :)